Sebastian Jungkunz, Marc Helbling, Mujtaba Isani
Measuring Implicit Political Extremism through Implicit Association Tests

Public Opinion Quarterly, 2024: 88, issue 1, pp. 175–192
ISSN: 0033-362X (print), 1537-5331 (online)

We develop the first implicit association test (IAT) to measure general implicit extremist attitudes in Germany, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. We find that implicit extremist attitudes are positively but weakly correlated with existing explicit measures. This indicates that implicit measures capture different parts of the population, for example, cases in which associations are based on automated cognitive processes instead of conscious thought. Further results show that particularly the higher-educated and nonreligious respondents score higher on the implicit than on the explicit extremism measures. Our results highlight the importance of studying implicit attitudes of political extremism. We further provide novel insights into how to develop IATs for abstract concepts such as democracy and extremism, for the study of which we cannot use readily available images or concepts.