ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (11): 1936-1947.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.01936

• Research Method • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Implicit relational assessment procedure (IRAP): Measuring principle and applications

WEN Fangfang, KE Wenlin, ZUO Bin(), DAI Yuee, NIE Siyuan, YAO Yi, HAN Shi   

  1. School of Psychology, Research Center of Social Psychology, Central China Normal University, Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior, Ministry of Education, Wuhan 430079, China
  • Received:2020-10-10 Online:2021-11-15 Published:2021-09-23
  • Contact: ZUO Bin


The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) is a new implicit measurement method based on relational frame theory (RFT) and is used to directly measure social cognition, beliefs, or attitudes. The method consists of two basic tasks: congruent and incongruent. The basic hypothesis is that subjects’ prior experience and response bias affect their responses to congruent or incongruent tasks. Specifically, a judgment response that conforms to subjects’ cognitive experience should occur faster than a judgment response that does not conform. As a widely used implicit attitude measurement paradigm, the IRAP demonstrates a certain degree of reliability and validity. However, different response choices (e.g., similar/opposite vs. true/false) and social situational factors (e.g., mixed/single gender, public/private scene, etc.) are all important factors influencing the IRAP’s effects. Simultaneously, the applicability of the IRAP differs somewhat from that of the relationship evaluation procedure (REP), implicit association test (IAT), relationship response task (RRT), and simple implicit procedure (SIP), and it has its own unique applicability. For example, the IRAP can directly measure the characteristics of implicit attitudes, while the implicit attitudes measured by the IAT can only be obtained as relative results. Starting from the structure of human speech relations, the IRAP can be used to explore even more complex and diverse relationships, such as measuring both “I am valuable” and the subjects’ implicit attitude toward “I want to be valuable.” In addition, the IRAP can directly use declarative sentences as stimuli, while non-relativity and flexibility allow the IRAP to explore more complex and diverse relationships. The relational frame theory (RFT), relational elaboration and coherence model (REC), and differential relational responding effects (DAARRE) provide theoretical explanations for the different effects of the IRAP.
To extend the applicability of the IRAP to a wider range of research fields and make it suitable for different experimental purposes, researchers have improved the original paradigm, and designed different variants such as the natural language IRAP, training IRAP, and change agenda IRAP. The IRAP was originally used in clinical diagnostic research and has gradually been extended to a wide range of applications in the fields of self, social cognition, population, and attitudes. To further verify the reliability and validity of different forms of the IRAP, exploring the psychological mechanism and effects of the IRAP, as well as its applicability in different fields—especially the research fields of implicit social cognition and intergroup interaction—will be important directions for future research. In conclusion, the IRAP provides a new perspective and method for researching implicit social cognition and even psychology as a whole, and lays a foundation for a deeper discussion of psychological scientific issues, thereby creating broad application prospects.

Key words: Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), Relational Frame Theory (RFT), implicit social cognition, Implicit Association Test

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