Unidirectional language bias: The Implicit Association Test with Spanish and English in Miami

Salvatore Callesano, Phillip M. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims and objectives/purpose/research questions: Automatic preferences and implicit biases toward Spanish and English in the context of Miami are tested. We investigate whether implicit language bias is conditioned by social factors (i.e., ethnicity, gender, first language) as well as different linguistic stimuli (orthographic vs oral/aural). Design/methodology/approach: Three Implicit Association Test (IAT) experiments were designed and implemented. IAT 1 uses semantically neutral furniture terms in English and Spanish with visual attribute words. IAT 2 uses an oral/aural condition employing US Latinx city names produced with both Spanish and English phonology. In IAT 3, we use nonce words to represent the categories of English and Spanish as well as positive/negative visual imagery for the attributes. Data and analysis: d-scores were automatically calculated considering response latency and accuracy. Data were subjected to linear regression for between- and within-experiment analyses as well as a post hoc regression considering participants born outside of the United States. Findings/conclusions: The within-experiment analysis for IAT 1 showed an effect of country of birth. The between-experiment analysis showed country of birth and the experiments themselves to be significant. Length of residency for the non-US born group was also a significant factor. Across the three experiments, none of the 89 participants demonstrated a strong automatic preference for Spanish. Originality: This study is conducted in the largest situation of bilingualism in the Americas and is the first study to examine nonconscious bias toward bilingual participants’ own language varieties in the United States. Significance/implications: Despite the popular construction of Miami as “Spanish-speaking,” results of this study demonstrate strong nonconscious automated preferences for English among participants in Miami and raise questions about language, power, and the vitality of Spanish in South Florida.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)960-977
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingualism
Issue number6
Early online dateNov 3 2022
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Implicit bias
  • US Latinx
  • sociolinguistics
  • bilingualism
  • Miami

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Unidirectional language bias: The Implicit Association Test with Spanish and English in Miami'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this