Development of an Implicit Association Test to measure attitudes toward speeding

Speeding is a major contributor to road trauma and attitudes toward speeding are hypothesised to be a key determinant of the behaviour. Attitudinal research is limited by reliance on self-report measures and the attendant possibility of reporting biases. The Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee & Schwartz, 1998) aims to measure attitudes without reliance on self-report, by assessing the association between a target-concept and an evaluation, in terms of reaction time for compatible versus non-compatible pairings. The present research aimed to develop and evaluate an IAT to measure attitudes to speeding.

In Study 1, 45 licensed drivers completed a questionnaire that assessed self-reported attitudes to speeding, and several variables theoretically related to attitudes, including speeding behaviour. Participants also drove a driving simulator, and completed the speed-related IAT. Observed IAT results suggested that attitudes toward speeding are negative, and were generally consistent with results derived from the self-report and speeding on the driving simulator.

In Study 2, a further 45 licensed drivers underwent the Study 1 procedures, before being exposed to an intervention that was designed to increase negative attitudes to speeding (treatment group) or not (control group). Participants returned after 1-2 weeks for a second session, during which the Study 1 procedures were repeated. The intervention appeared to have a significant effect only on perceived crash risk for speeding. Thus, we could not adequately test the responsivity of the speed-related IAT to changed attitudes to speeding. In the control group, the IAT effect at Session 1 demonstrated a significant correlation with IAT effect at Session 2. Thus, the speed-related IAT appeared to be a valid and stable measure of attitudes to speeding, which might be used to measure attitudes in road safety research, without reliance on self-report.

Enquiries relating to the Road Safety Research Grant Report 2007-05 should be directed to:

Dr Julie Hatfield

Senior Research Fellow

NSW Injury Risk Management Research Centre

Building G2

The University of NSW, 2052

Phone: +61 +2 9385 7949

Fax: +61 +2 9385 6040


Type: Research and Analysis Report

Sub Type: Grant

Author(s): Hatfield J., Fernandes R., Faunce G., Job R.S.F

Topics: Speed

Publication Date: 21/12/07