Redefining Attitude Importance: The Possible Existence of Associative and Subjective Types of Importance Under a Global Definition
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Traditionally, importance has been measured using subjective measures. The present thesis explores the possibility of a second type of importance, designated as “associative importance”. A new measure, the IIAT, was designed to capture the strength of association between an object and the attribute of importance. This thesis then evaluated the validity of the IIAT via an intervention paradigm in 2 studies, and by using the measure to predict a memory outcome in 2 other studies. Subjective measures of importance were also included in these studies and correlations between subjective measures and IIAT results were examined. Across all 4 studies, subjective-objective correlations were weak to modest and non-significant. The intervention studies provided promising evidence that interventions do affect associative importance as measured by the IIAT. The prediction studies provided somewhat mixed, but encouraging evidence that the IIAT may be able to predict memory performance. Notably, subjective measures were not able to predict memory performance at all, whereas the IIAT was able to predict some memory indices. Overall, there is some evidence supporting the existence of an associative importance construct, and that the IIAT provides valid results that are nonetheless different from that of subjective measures of attitude importance.