Development and Validation of the Implicit Measure of Distinct Emotional States (IMDES)

2017-11-01T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Gregory P Bartoszek
A major advance in psychological science is the development of implicit measures, which are employed because of their capacity to overcome limitations of self-reports. Despite this trend, well-developed implicit measures of distinct emotions are lacking. Two studies evaluated the validity of a method for indirect assessment of distinct emotions, the Implicit Measure of Distinct Emotional States (IMDES). On the IMDES, respondents rate emotions expressed in a series of ambiguous images. The measure requires respondents to rate each image within five seconds using a forced-choice scale. In Study 1, anger, fear, sadness or a neutral state were induced through autobiographical recall tasks. The IMDES showed that the anger and fear groups differed from the neutral group (controls) only in the target emotions. Although there were no group differences in implicit sadness, the sadness group rated more images as expressing sadness than as expressing fear or anger. By contrast, when explicitly self-reporting their emotional states, participants in anger, fear, or sadness group reported higher levels of all negative emotions (i.e., anger, fear, sadness) compared to controls. Study 2 examined the IMDES responses as a function of well-being/depression. Compared to the high well-being (low depression) group, the low well-being (high depression) group attributed less happiness and more sadness to the IMDES pictures. These two implicitly assessed emotions were correlated with self-reported well-being and depressive symptoms, even when controlling for self-reported emotions. The self-reported measure indicated that the groups differed in happiness, sadness, and fear. Thus in both studies, the IMDES evidenced better specificity than the self-report measures. The studies also supported convergent, discriminant, and incremental validity of the implicit measure.