How to administer the Initial Preference Task

Stefan Stieger*, Martin Voracek, Anton K. Formann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

21 Citations (Scopus)


Individuals like their name letters more than non-name letters. This effect has been termed the Name Letter Effect (NLE) and is widely exploited to measure implicit (i.e. automatic, unconscious) self-esteem, predominantly by means of the Initial Preference Task (IPT). Methodological research on how to best administer the IPT is, however, scarce. In order to bridge this gap, the present paper assessed the advantages and disadvantages of different types of IPT administrations with two meta-analyses (k=49; N=11,514) and a follow-up experiment (N=449). As a result, a new type of administration is recommended which (1) treats the effects of the first and the last name initials separately, (2) uses a duplicate administration for reliability reasons, (3) uses the likability as well as the attractiveness item wording and (4) exploits not only letters but also numbers (i.e. birthday number effect) to measure implicit self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-78
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Birthday number effect
  • Implicit self-esteem
  • Initial preference task
  • Meta-analysis
  • Name letter effect
  • Scoring algorithm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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