Monday, January 15, 2007

Implicit Association Test

As a curiousity, I checked out the (Implicit Association Test) to find out what would happen. These tests are created to find out how our unconscious attitudes might be incompatible with our stated conscious values. It is a powerful predictor of how each of us might act in certain unpredictable situations. Not what we would say or do, but our more subtle reactions that we don't realize we're having. The tests change all the time (there are apparently 100 of them).

I was given pictures of two people (Reemolap and Vabbenif) follwed by statements about their actions. I was then asked to categorize them into right and left columns along with words that fit under the categories "good" and "bad." The combinations changed and I was asked to respond to each as quickly as possible (it measures the time it takes you to hit the correct key). These are my results:

"In this study, we are investigating the formation of preferences for different groups. By having you read positive and negative statements about two social groups, and then measuring your automatic associations, we are hoping to better understand how information that occurs in the environment leads to automatic associations. We used fictitious social groups in this study because we wanted to see how new automatic associations form; we could only do so by using groups about which people have no preexisting attitudes. You may have noticed one behavior that seemed very strong compared to the others that you read ('burned a flag at a soldier's funeral' or 'beat a man to death for being gay'). The addition of strong statements allows us to test whether the quantity or strength of information has a bigger impact on implicit attitude formation.

Your data suggests little or no association between Vabbenif and Reemolap with bad and good.

Depending on the magnitude of your result, your automatic associations may be described as 'slight', 'moderate', 'strong', or 'little to no preference'. How implicit associations affect our judgments and behaviors is not well understood and may be influenced by a number of variables. As such, the score should serve as an opportunity for self-reflection, not as a definitive assessment of your implicit thoughts or feelings. This and future research will clarify the way in which implicit thinking and feelings affects our perception, judgment, and action."

Hmmmm. So, even though I was told that Reemolap beat a man to death for being gay, I didn't automatically and unconsciously associate him with the words that fit under the category of "bad." From what I've read, that means that my unconscious isn't working like it ought to or that I think too carefully with my conscious. I'm going to go back and take other tests like these and find out if there are ideas I have that I don't realize might affect my reactions.
This was fun! I encourage all of you to participate!


Aubrey said...

These are addictive! I'm starting to get worried though. I just took one on African Americans vs European Americans biases. My data, again, suggests little or no association between African American or European American with Good and Bad. Have I no gut reactions??

Aubrey said...

Now outed as someone who clearly talks to herself (and with technology these days, is able to blog to herself!)..... I did another implicit association test today. I finally have a strong gut reaction! You know what it is to? Hah. Letters over Numbers! What?! What does that even MEAN?!?!