Date of Award

8-1-2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Drake, Chad

Abstract

The current study tested the utility of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) as an analogue cognitive defusion intervention to alter implicit attitudes toward Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler. One-hundred and twelve participants were randomly assigned to either a control or defusion condition. Participants first completed a series of self-report measures assessing psychological functioning and distress, as well as attitudes toward Lincoln and Hitler. Control condition participants then completed three IRAPs measuring implicit attitudes toward Hitler and Lincoln (H/L IRAP). Defusion conditions participants completed a pre-intervention H/L IRAP, received a rationale for defusion before completing a defusion IRAP, and then completed a post-intervention H/L IRAP. All participants finished the study by completing a second set of self-report measures. Results of the study indicated that when taking into account participant knowledge of defusion there were significant differences in IRAP performance post-intervention between conditions, although there were no significant differences in performance pre- to post-intervention within the defusion condition. Additionally, there were no differences between conditions on self-report measures at either time point, suggesting the IRAP was sensitive to changes in participant attitudes that self-reports were unable to detect. Thus, the results of this study indicate that the IRAP is a viable analogue defusion intervention, and future research should look to expand the defusion effect produced by the IRAP.

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