I don't have an opinion on this research, but I can think of all sorts of interesting applications for something like this both in the social sciences and in business if the technique performs as advertised.
A typical IAT procedure involves a series of seven tasks. In the first task, an individual is asked to categorize stimuli into two categories. For example, a person might be presented with a computer screen on which the word "Black" appears in the top left-hand corner and the word "White" appears in the top right-hand corner. In the middle of the screen a word, such as a first name, that is typically associated with either the categories of "Black" or "White." For each word that appears in the middle of the screen, the person is asked to sort the word into the appropriate category by pressing the appropriate left-hand or right-hand key. On the second task, the person would complete a similar sorting procedure with an attribute of some kind. For example, the word "Pleasant" might now appear in the top left-hand corner of the screen and the word "Unpleasant" in the top right-hand corner. In the middle of the screen would appear a word that is either pleasant or unpleasant. Once again, the person would be asked to sort each word as being either pleasant or unpleasant by pressing the appropriate key. On the third task, individuals are asked to complete a combined task that includes both the categories and attributes from the first two tasks. In this example, the words "Black/Pleasant" might appear in the top left-hand corner while the words "White/Unpleasant" would appear in the top right-hand corner. Individuals would then see a series of stimuli in the center of the screen consisting of either a name or word. They would be asked to press the left-hand key if the name or word belongs to the "Black/Pleasant" category or the right-hand key if it belongs to the "White/Unpleasant" category. The fourth task is a repeat of the third task but with more repetitions of the names, words, or images.
The fifth task is a repeat of the first task with the exception that the position of the two target words would be reversed. For example, "Black" would now appear in the top right-hand corner of the screen and "White" in the top left-hand corner. The sixth task would be a repeat of the third, except that the objects and subjects of study would be in opposite pairings from previous trials. In this case, "Black/Unpleasant" would now appear in the top right-hand corner and "White/Pleasant" would now appear in the top left-hand corner. The seventh task is a repeat of the sixth task but with more repetitions of the names, words, or images. If the categories under study (e.g. Black or White) are differently associated with the presented attributes (e.g. Pleasant/Unpleasant), you would expect that the pairing that a participant associates with or believes would be considerably easier for the participant. In this example a participant may perform better when White and Pleasant are paired together than when Black and Pleasant are paired.
Has anyone out there played around with this?