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Yes, you are biased.
April 2, 2005 7:49 PM   Subscribe

Who do you unconciously hate? The Harvard University implicit bias tests allow you to discover your own implicit stereotypes: age, gender, religion, race -- even politics and presidents. Each test takes about ten minutes, and the results are sometimes surprising. Perhaps announcing your biases should this be the equivalent of the geek code for policy threads.
posted by blahblahblah (67 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Click on "demonstation" to take the tests. This site also features my favorite opt-in warning of all time: "I am aware of the possibility of encountering interpretations of my IAT test performance with which I may not agree."
posted by blahblahblah at 7:51 PM on April 2, 2005


I took this a couple of months ago, and yes, I'll admit it: I'm subconsciously biased. I'm not proud of that.

I was speaking with an academic a little while ago about how very few people want to admit to being influenced by systemic racism. Most people (in academia, anyway) recognize that systemic sexism exists -- they might occasionally stop and say, "hey, whoa, I'm being unfair to women here." Racism, on the other hand, is so taboo that no one wants to admit that they're influenced by skin color. What this means is that hiring and admissions committees are very sensitive to the fact that sexism might be creeping into their practices, but they turn a blind eye toward racism. That's not good. I'd be pleased if tests like this one got whites to realize that they oughtn't table-thumpingly declare that they're not racist, dammit.
posted by painquale at 8:09 PM on April 2, 2005


Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for George W. Bush relative to Franklin D. Roosevelt

It's certainly not 100% accurate.
posted by Bort at 8:15 PM on April 2, 2005


I feel kind of weirdly relieved to have the test tell me that I'm not biased. I shouldn't have to feel proud of that.
posted by amandaudoff at 8:16 PM on April 2, 2005


My test "indicates" a "strong automatic preference" for George W. Bush over ... wait for it ... Tricky Dick Nixon.

Well, ok, I am a bit conflicted over which is worse, having previously always thought Nixon was the absolute worst US president of all time.

But what does the result really mean? It means I'm faster at sorting positive words "Joy" with pictures of Bush and negative words" agony" with pictures of Nixon. So presumably I pause as my mind reels more at doing the same thing for positive words and pictures of Dick than it reels at doing the same thing for positive words and pictures of Bush. But does that indicate merely that I've associated Nixon with bad longer than I've associated George W Bush with anything?

It certainly can't mean I think well of Bush. And I certainly don't strongly prefer Bush to Nixon -- as I noted I'm conflicted. In some ways Nixon, safely dead and always so entertaining on those tapes ("John, the Jews, you just can't trust them....") , is more comforting to me than Bush, in office and always ready to pull new fuck-ups.

So what's the point really? Again, I'm convinced that this doesn't reveal any secret love in my heart for Bush.

But had I taken the race test, and been told I had a "strong preference for black folk", well, I might have believed that, and wondered if I wasn't perhaps a secret racist.

I'm not saying these test are not valid, but, perhaps if one's opinions are close enough together, the test doesn't distinguish well? I know for damn sure I don't like Bush.
posted by orthogonality at 8:23 PM on April 2, 2005


It's like that dance dance revolution game.
posted by airguitar at 8:24 PM on April 2, 2005


Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for the United States relative to Canada.

uhh, wrong.

I think what it really ends up testing is how badly you adapt once they group two things on one side vs the other, and then switch the groupings. e.g., after I get used to seeing 'young and good' on the right and 'old and bad' on the left, I am going to associate the two with (a) each other and (b) the side they're on. Once it gets changed up, of course I'm going to do worse.

Not that I'm sure I don't have some automatic preference for younger people.
posted by blacklite at 8:25 PM on April 2, 2005


Fascinating. I did the old/young and was told I have "slight automatic preference for Old relative to Young." I don't necessarily disagree with that, but wonder how much was conscious knowledge that I was being tested and therefore wanted to not appear to be biased, or something like that.

As a side note, why use "hate" in your post title? Why not ask who we unconsciously love?
posted by mmahaffie at 8:28 PM on April 2, 2005


Frustratingly I am a moderate hater. My wife is not, the opposite in fact. Shit. I thought listening to NPR was supposed to help you with this sort of thing ;-)

A decade ago, as a white liberal arts college student i learned to recognize that I am the beneficiary of white male privilege, and I always have conceded that I'm somewhat...if unconciously...racist (this on the theory that the first step to solving your problem is admitting you have one...)

But I'm sick of being that way, or of at least fearing that that is the case.

Another fucked up honky posting shit on the internet when he's had too much to drink...
posted by prettyboyfloyd at 8:29 PM on April 2, 2005


painquale writes "I'd be pleased if tests like this one got whites to realize that they oughtn't table-thumpingly declare that they're not racist, dammit."

But if I'm unconsciously racist -- and I can't help it -- should you even be testing me for it?

I mean, much is made of the belief -- sacrosanct in liberal circles -- that homosexuality isn't a preference, it's an unavoidable part of who you are, so ingrained that it's wrong to ask someone to try not to be homosexual. Which is one reason that most liberals would be offended by a test that "detects" homosexual feelings.

If racism -- or "racial orientation" -- is similarly so ingrained, and really unchangeable shouldn't we show it the same resect we show "homosexual orientation'?

If hiring committees, as you imply, should test for 'implicit racism" should they also test for 'implicit homosexuality"?
posted by orthogonality at 8:30 PM on April 2, 2005


mmahaffie writes " As a side note, why use 'hate' in your post title? Why not ask who we unconsciously love?"

Because those we hate we sometimes kill.

That which we love, we only betray.
posted by orthogonality at 8:32 PM on April 2, 2005


orthogonality : " If racism -- or 'racial orientation' -- is similarly so ingrained, and really unchangeable shouldn't we show it the same resect we show 'homosexual orientation"?"

Just because something is subconscious doesn't mean that it's innate or unchangeable. That's the difference between homosexuality and homophobia -- you can change homophobic biases by changes in evironment and education. Recognizing one's own covert biases is the first step to take in order to do something about them.

(And even if homophobia or racism really were unchangeable -- which I certainly don't believe! -- there'd still be plenty of good reasons not to accept them as we do accept homosexuality.)
posted by painquale at 8:35 PM on April 2, 2005


painquale writes " (And even if homophobia or racism really were unchangeable -- which I certainly don't believe! -- there'd still be plenty of good reasons not to accept them as we do accept homosexuality.)"

So if I'm born a racist, I don't get the job, but if I'm born gay I do?

O brave new world, that hath such employers in it.
posted by orthogonality at 8:41 PM on April 2, 2005


To eliminate bicameral variables you should take each test four times. Once with each hand, and twice with both hands, crossing them once.
posted by airguitar at 8:42 PM on April 2, 2005


Oh, and I didn't mean to imply that hiring committees should be tested for implicit racism. I meant that tests like these should lead people to recognize that systemic biases might be influencing their own decisions, so they can then personally struggle with eliminating them.

On preview: That's not my position. You're shoving me into a cubbyhole I don't want to be in!
posted by painquale at 8:44 PM on April 2, 2005


I have a strong preference for young people. Who knew? I would have guessed I liked old people more. I kept thinking about the old bag that yelled at me tonight - that's probably what skewed it.
posted by letitrain at 8:46 PM on April 2, 2005


Interesting. It says I have little or no discernable difference in my preference for either GW Bush or JFK! I guess my exasperation with the Dems somehow neutralizes my total loathing for the GOP?
posted by scody at 8:55 PM on April 2, 2005


Yeah, this test is great proof of one of the most important parts of my analysis of racism, which is that socialization causes us to internalize our roles in the dichotomy of white supremacy.

And blacklite -- you know, there are a lot of levels upon which I prefer Canada to the US. but I'm being bombarded with pro-US imagery; I imagine that in Canada that would also be hard to avoid, as in many other parts of the world near and far. This test is about our IMPLICIT, not explicit, prejudices, and can't be dismissed based on the content of your explicit prejudices.
posted by Embryo at 8:55 PM on April 2, 2005


and by 'can't be', i really mean to say, 'oughtn't be'.
posted by Embryo at 8:56 PM on April 2, 2005


As a side note, why use "hate" in your post title? Why not ask who we unconsciously love?

An experiment based on MeFi experience, I posted above love poetry last week and got 20 posts in response. Hate apparently sells more copies. Incidentally, the FAQ, the second link, is interesting, as in this question:

What can I do about an automatic preference that I would rather not have?

Answer: First, bear in mind that these website IAT tests are not perfectly accurate. You may want to repeat the test before drawing even a tentative conclusion of this sort. On the other hand, it is very possible to possess an automatic preference that you would rather not have (and the researchers who developed this test are convinced that they, too, fall into this category). One solution is to seek experiences that could undo or reverse the patterns of experience that could have created the unwanted preference. But this is not always easy to do. A more practical alternative may be to remain alert to the existence of the undesired preference, recognizing that it may intrude in unwanted fashion into your judgments and actions. Additionally, you may decide to embark on consciously planned actions that can compensate for known unconscious preferences and beliefs.

posted by blahblahblah at 8:58 PM on April 2, 2005


Your data suggest a moderate automatic association of "female" to "science".

Well, that is what she blinded me with ...
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:08 PM on April 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


I was surprised to discover I had nearly no automatic associations, and the ones I did have were 'slight' and in the opposite direction to typical stereotypes.

I was also surprised to discover that I consider Latin part of the Sciences, not the Liberal Arts - I consistently misclassified it. Makes sense, though.

airguitar: the controls you mentioned were built into the test. Didn't you notice?
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:13 PM on April 2, 2005


Here is a great (and very detailed and long) article about these tests. Here is a great transcript of a Q&A session / online discussion about that article. Things like the order of the associations biasing the tests are addressed. Quite interesting.

And I agree with Embryo. I don't think I appreciated the implicit nature of these tests at first. Explicitly, I don't care for Bush, but after 2 tests, it would appear the implicitly I do - and the theory is, as far as I can tell, it's because I am exposed to more pro-Bush stimuli than anti-Bush stimuli.
posted by Bort at 9:17 PM on April 2, 2005


BTW, that article I linked shows what we all already knew: Conservatives, on average, show higher levels of bias against gays, blacks and Arabs than liberals. :)
posted by Bort at 9:29 PM on April 2, 2005


ikkyu2 writes "I was also surprised to discover that I consider Latin part of the Sciences, not the Liberal Arts - I consistently misclassified it. Makes sense, though."

I kept pausing on "Engineering" -- it's not really a science, or it's applied science.
posted by orthogonality at 9:32 PM on April 2, 2005


OK, my wife is one of the researchers on Project Implicit. You can see her picture here. Feel free to guess which one is her. I've raised many of the points mentioned here, and here are the counterpoints:

I took this a couple of months ago, and yes, I'll admit it: I'm subconsciously biased. I'm not proud of that.

It's nothing to be ashamed of, but it's also not an excuse for behaviour. Your implicit attitudes are learned, while your explicit attitudes are determined by you. Your implicit attitudes are also malleable. One of the principal investigators keeps a wall of pictures of prominent black people to try to alter her implicit attitudes concerning race.

Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for George W. Bush relative to Franklin D. Roosevelt and My test "indicates" a "strong automatic preference" for George W. Bush over ... wait for it ... Tricky Dick Nixon ... I know for damn sure I don't like Bush.

The keyword here is relative. It doesn't mean you prefer Bush, he's just the lesser of two evils. And the tests are not 100% accurate. In this case, it may just be something you don't give much thought to, in which case, your implicit and explicit attitudes may not necessarily correlate, which is fairly normal.

Once it gets changed up, of course I'm going to do worse.

This is corrected for. The test is "self-calibrating" in that way. It measures the difference in latency, not just the latency itself.

I don't necessarily disagree with that, but wonder how much was conscious knowledge that I was being tested and therefore wanted to not appear to be biased, or something like that.

The beauty of the IAT is that it bypasses conscious self-monitoring. A questionaire that asks, "Do you have a preference for white people or black people" will never produce accurate results. The IAT makes it impossible for you to put down the "right" answers.

If racism -- or "racial orientation" -- is similarly so ingrained, and really unchangeable shouldn't we show it the same resect we show "homosexual orientation'?

As I said above, implicit attitudes are highly malleable. If you gave race IATs to people in a room with pictures of famous great black people on the wall, you'd get different results than from the same group without the pictures. The IAT isn't measuring something ingrained, it's measuring a lifetime of conditioning.

To eliminate bicameral variables you should take each test four times. Once with each hand, and twice with both hands, crossing them once.

I don't know if you were serious, but if so, the test is self-calibrating, so differences between your left and right hand are corrected for. However, the test does become ineffective after you have taken a few of them in a row, as you "learn how to play the game".
posted by AaRdVarK at 9:37 PM on April 2, 2005


Your data suggest little or no association between science and Female relative to Male

However, it fails to mention that I can't sort gender words for the life of me. I can't believe how many times i sorted 'man' into 'female' and 'aunt' into 'male.'
posted by Amanda B at 9:41 PM on April 2, 2005


Awesome, AaRdVarK. I'm guessing that your wife is not one of the Elmos. Thanks for the backroom insight.
posted by painquale at 9:42 PM on April 2, 2005


the controls you mentioned were built into the test. Didn't you notice?
Yeah, but my guess is that I may adapt better with my right hand than my left, or get swapped results by crossing my hands.
Who has the time?

I don't know if you were serious...
A bit silly, but I do wonder, having read some about hemispheric differences. That's a cool test though.
posted by airguitar at 9:46 PM on April 2, 2005


...or with one eye open! (enough)
posted by airguitar at 9:48 PM on April 2, 2005


AaRdVarK, would you ask your wife if she knows of any businesses using this to hone their advertising? I would imagine the improvements that could be made in getting their product to be seen as positive could be scary.
posted by Bort at 9:52 PM on April 2, 2005


AaRdVarK writes "In this case, it may just be something you don't give much thought to, in which case, your implicit and explicit attitudes may not necessarily correlate, which is fairly normal."

Yeah, but honestly, I have given some serious thought to it. (Really, I'm not just alleging this post hoc, it's how I am: I've also thought about who is the worst AG in our history, and reluctantly decided Mitchell Palmer was worse than Ashcroft, but that Gonzales -- given that he wrote opinions saying the President is above the law -- may be worse than either.)

Since for me Nixon has always been the nadir of our presidencies, I naturally felt compelled to compare him, prior to ever hearing of this test, to GW Bush. and as I said, it's been pretty much a toss-up. Had the test indicated a slight preference either way, I'd have no issue with it. But a strong preference, after significant thought had led me to deciding it was a toss-up? And given that Bush gets me much more viscerally, emotionally, angry?

That makes me wonder what the test is actually measuring. I mean, obviously, it's hypothesizing that 'cognitive dissonance" between consisting categories causes delay in reaction time, but I'd submit delay and confusion may have other causes.

"OK, my wife is one of the researchers on Project Implicit. You can see her picture here. Feel free to guess which one is her."

The twins with the buggy eyes, wearing ties, are cute!
posted by orthogonality at 9:59 PM on April 2, 2005


Yeah, but honestly, I have given some serious thought to it.

On the implicit side, it may be something that you don't have that many implicit attitudes toward simply because of lack of conditioning. I'm in over my head on this one, so I'll consult with the wife in the morning.

cognitive dissonance

Everytime my wife sees or hears a non-psychologist use these words she cringes, because it's always used improperly. I took it out of my vocabulary when I realized that there are only a handful of places where it would be appropriate, and I'm not capable of identifying those places. I'd suggest you do the same. I'm not saying this in a mean way, just in a "I don't want my wife to cringe if she ever talks to you" way. This goes for everybody.
posted by AaRdVarK at 10:24 PM on April 2, 2005


Anyone else having problems with the tests loading?
posted by sian at 10:54 PM on April 2, 2005


My test indicates that I
Loading...
posted by odinsdream at 11:07 PM on April 2, 2005


sian, mine was loading forever, so I stopped it. I read the intro, but since I didn't test myself I'm a little unfamiliar with the specifics of the test. I've encountered this stuff before though.

I'm biased. I know I'm biased. That helps. I'm not ashamed - I firmly believe that it's not my fault that I'm biased. Nor is it anybody's really - it's just the accumulation of experience which differs between people. In my case, there are several biases - in middle and high school my friends and I were all mugged several times, without exception by black people. It became such that I was cautious when approaching a group of black guys on the street. Of course, I also had black friends, and saw that most black people weren't even close to those who had pulled a gun on me - but the strength of experience is greater than that of reason, at least for me and in this case. I still haven't gotten over that cautiousness - it was ingrained over years.
Similarly, at my high school we had maybe 2 or 3 persian people and about the same number of indians (dot). Even after four years at UCLA they still seem to me to be a rare breed, and I find that indian and persian girls get kind of a +1 to charisma because they are mysterious to me. So bias can go both ways.

In any case, I believe that there is nothing wrong with being biased - I don't believe that anyone truly isn't... but those who are and are aware of their bias can counter it consciously.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:08 PM on April 2, 2005


Same here... forever loading
I have a preference for sites that work :-D
Sounds like an interesting experiment though.
posted by arkine at 11:20 PM on April 2, 2005


I was going to post last night, but their site was down for maintenance, so I held off. Perhaps they are doing the same tonight, if so, it should be back up in the am. You will have to remain blissfully unaware of your biases until then.
posted by blahblahblah at 11:25 PM on April 2, 2005


I took two: apparently I'm not biased for or against Muslim Arabs, but I strongly associate women with science. Hm.
posted by ori at 3:05 AM on April 3, 2005


Wow. Turns out I want to kill all the Jews. I didn't see that coming.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:44 AM on April 3, 2005


Related: Implicit Quotas [pdf] from This previous thread.
posted by yoga at 5:03 AM on April 3, 2005


It seems I'm heavily biased against tests that take a goddamned eternity to load.
posted by Decani at 5:52 AM on April 3, 2005


Wouldn't it have to be a test in which you don't realize you're being tested to be any kind of useful? And the test doesn't seem to know the difference between being irritated by "identity politics" and being biased against people. And when it says I strongly prefer Thin People to Fat People what does prefer mean? What does fat mean? I'm technically overwieght, according to that BMI thing, because I'm about 15 pounds heavier than I'm supposed to be for my height. Am I fat? Or are only obese people fat?
I prefer not to have to sit between two obese people on an airplane. Does this mean I hate fat people (people fatter than I), or I merely dislike being physically and socially uncomfortable (physically for obvious reasons; socially because the fat person will feel like s/he's imposing on me and willl be painfully aware of his/her body the entire plane ride, and I will know that, and know that they're feeling that way on account me, thin(er) person, and yet neither of us will be able to directly address the problem.)
posted by eustacescrubb at 5:57 AM on April 3, 2005


Man, now I know what that tingling feeling I had felt in the back of my neck means... repost.

I'll have answers for more people's questions shortly.
posted by AaRdVarK at 6:31 AM on April 3, 2005


I'm still waiting for People.Virginia.Edu.

I might be biased against them, though.
posted by Navek Rednam at 6:32 AM on April 3, 2005


Yeah, but honestly, I have given some serious thought to it. (Really, I'm not just alleging this post hoc, it's how I am: I've also thought about who is the worst AG in our history, and reluctantly decided Mitchell Palmer was worse than Ashcroft, but that Gonzales -- given that he wrote opinions saying the President is above the law -- may be worse than either.)

So as I had previously said, I was in way over my head in trying to explain this one. I've been told you should check out the FAQ, particularly #11.
posted by AaRdVarK at 7:56 AM on April 3, 2005


Similarly, at my high school we had maybe 2 or 3 persian people and about the same number of indians (dot). Even after four years at UCLA they still seem to me to be a rare breed, and I find that indian and persian girls get kind of a +1 to charisma because they are mysterious to me. So bias can go both ways.

Is this really a benefit to these people? For me, I feel that my relationship suffers just as with people for whom I have an implicit sense of mysteriousness, as with those for whom I have an implicit sense of wariness (and I try to actively counter both by consciously interacting with these people in a way that is opposite to the way that I reflexively would act). "Exoticization" is what you're talking about; see 'Asian' fetishes. They are definitely a product of racism; and it's not a boon to those on the other end, who are tokenized and made invisible by the aspects of them that are determined to be 'exotic'. Not that what you're feeling isn't understandable; I think you're right that this test proves that it IS understandable and also highly changeable. But I'm just noting that some of the ramifications of racism can take more analysis / reflection / weighing of angles to determine than others.
posted by Embryo at 11:28 AM on April 3, 2005


Embryo writes "'Exoticization' is what you're talking about; see "Asian" fetishes. They are definitely a product of racism; and it's not a boon to those on the other end, who are tokenized and made invisible by the aspects of them that are determined to be "exotic"."

It ain't racism. It's them Asiatic girls with their inscrutable ways and kung-fu moves. Them girls is so horny, and they love you looooong time. And they're great at doing laundry, too.
posted by orthogonality at 11:51 AM on April 3, 2005


Awww.... but AaRdVarK, you have answered the most important question! - Kate R?
posted by gudrun at 1:05 PM on April 3, 2005 [1 favorite]


*sings:*

God damn you half-Japanese girls
Do it to me ev-er-y time
Oh, the redhead said you shred the 'cello
And I'm Jello, ba-by

But you won't talk, won't look, won't think of me
I'm the epitome
Of public enemy

Why you wanna go and do me like that?
Come down on the street and dance with me!
posted by koeselitz at 1:18 PM on April 3, 2005


Oh, the white folks hate the black folks,
And the black folks hate the white folks;
To hate all but the right folks
Is an old established rule.
. . . .

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
And everybody hates the Jews.

But during National Brotherhood Week,
National Brotherhood Week,
It's National Everyone-Smile-At-One-Another-Hood Week.
Be nice to people who
Are inferior to you.
It's only for a week, so have no fear;
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!
posted by orthogonality at 1:33 PM on April 3, 2005


Great post - thanks.

Being a wishy-washy liberal, I've always been unsure how racist/sexist/ageist I am, and now I can find out.
Turns our I am strongly ageist, moderately racist and slightly biased in favour of homosexuality (although I should re-take the tests to confirm).
Oh, well - at least I can start tackling things in a systematic manner now I _know_.
posted by YAMWAK at 1:51 PM on April 3, 2005


Spent wayyy too much time on this but it's fun/interesting.

Moderately prefer young over old (disagree - you kids get off my lawn!).
Strongly relate science to males (agree).
Strongly prefer Abe Lincoln over GWBush (agree!).
Strongly prefer gay over straight (I'm Bi, but this surprised me).
Slightly prefer Judaism to other religions (close enough to neutral).
Moderately prefer thin to fat people (not surprising being one of the latter).
Slightly prefer white people (which is depressing).
posted by deborah at 2:20 PM on April 3, 2005


Apparently, I'm strongly biased against clinical psychologists.
posted by fungible at 2:27 PM on April 3, 2005


I should say, by the way, that this test is sort of crap, I think. It seems to be based on the notion that predispositions and predilections are reflexes built into us. It tells you whether you're likely to randomly smack a Muslim, but I wonder if it tells much else. People, happily, are not machines.

I grant that a lot of people have subconscious biases, and that they probably ought to think through them. But those biases are displayed more in the way they treat people than in whether they accidentally click "evil" in a random series of characters. I came out in this test preferring Jews and Muslims to "other people." This is correct. Also, my horoscope was right today. Doesn't mean I'll start trusting either one.
posted by koeselitz at 2:57 PM on April 3, 2005


Fungible: Too bad this is social psychology!

Seriously though (as a social psychology graduate student) it should be noted that the researchers involved with the IAT don't intend for it to be a test of "who you hate" or if you might "slap a Muslim."

Instead, research has indicated that a lot of people have implicit attitudes that they might not even recognize. It doesn't mean that they're racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. It merely means that even well-intentioned individuals may have certain latent biases.

This is important for hiring and judicial purposes (among others). The good news is -- these aren't "uncontrollable impulses." Once people may realize that they have certain biases, they can be vigilant about them. Also, research has indicated that exposing an individual to counter-stereotype or positive exemplars of a category can counteract this effect.

For instance, in a classic experiment, subjects who viewed video clips of Blacks in a positive light did not exhibit biases in the same way as individuals who viewed videos of Blacks in negative portrayals.

My master's thesis involves the topic of implicit attitudes so I'm a bit touchy about this subject. The researchers involved in developing these tests (e.g., Nosek, Banaji, Greenwald, and others) have been very careful to say that a bias on these tests does not mean you're a racist -- it just might mean SOMETHING, we don't know what.
posted by trey at 3:04 PM on April 3, 2005


"'Exoticization' is what you're talking about; see "Asian" fetishes..."

So, if that is 'exoticization', what is the word for white guys thinking busty, blonde women are hot?
ordinarization?
nativization?

Is there a PC word for black men who find white women attractive? How about Hispanics who fall for British accents?

Sorry, this is one of my personal hot-button issues. My wife is Asian, and I find Asian women more attractive in general, but I've dated women of every race and quite a few nationalities and I hate being constantly accused (openly or behind my back) of 'yellow fever' or 'exoticization'.

Just fuck whoever turns you on, until the whole world is beige and we can stop labelling people.
posted by bashos_frog at 3:50 PM on April 3, 2005


orthogonality, where were you when I quoted Lehrer during the great plagerism debate of a couple days back? Is there anything on MeFi that he is not applicable to?
posted by blahblahblah at 5:03 PM on April 3, 2005


I don't need to take this test - I already know that I am biaised against everybody.
posted by dg at 8:14 PM on April 3, 2005


trey writes "The researchers involved in developing these tests (e.g., Nosek, Banaji, Greenwald, and others) have been very careful to say that a bias on these tests does not mean you're a racist -- it just might mean SOMETHING, we don't know what."

But trey also writes "This is important for hiring and judicial purposes (among others)."


So you're suggesting we should deny people jobs on the basis of a test that "just might mean SOMETHING", and might (I doubt it, but might) just mean they have bad reflexes when they're nervous about being tested for secular sins like racism?

If this becomes a general practice, you won't see less racism or stereotyping -- you'll see lots of hucksters offering classes on how to beat this test. And you'll see honest people out of work.

bashos_frog writes "Just fuck whoever turns you on, until the whole world is beige and we can stop labelling people."

Yeah, last I tried that I got slapped. (And the time before that, I woke up disoriented and sore in a strange bed.)
posted by orthogonality at 8:23 PM on April 3, 2005


Disoriented and sore in a strange bed? You got off lucky - I ended up marrying the sumbitch.
posted by postmodernmillie at 9:34 PM on April 3, 2005


I think this is an interesting basis for an argument in favor of engaging in meme warfare (culture jamming) a la Adbusters. This is the basis for the idea of meme warfare. We are being, in a way, programmed by the ideas (memes) we recieve. Certain people have a lot of power to control those meme, and this has an effect that just, i think, must be taken into account. It's like a systematic assault on the memespace of our culture; culture jammers want to fight against this.

sorry for the overexplanation, but i just wanted to make sure that the paragraph was as accessible as possible.
posted by Embryo at 10:28 PM on April 3, 2005


What about muscle memory? Those who frequently play video games can attest to the fact that your hands get used to repeating certain movements or keystrokes.

Most of my "mistakes" were due to the fact that I got several of the same types of words or pictures in a row and simply got used to pressing that particular button. Can a physiological response to repetitive keystrokes really be parlayed into the idea of unconscious bias? For some people, yes, this may be an accurate test. However, to say that all people have a possible implicit bias simply because of the amount of hand/eye coordination they may or may not possess seems just the slightest bit ludicrous.

To be honest, I see these online tests as mostly bullshit. It's the idea of telling people that they're biased simply because they didn't press some keys at the correct interval. Clinical tests may be different, but I'm still not going to suggest hiring people based on these tests.

It all seems a bit too Minority Report for my liking. "Oh, you might be a racist or something, but we're nowhere near to having any clue what any of this research really means yet. Oh, yeah, hope you don't lose that job offer over your possible bias that we're not sure means anything."
posted by i feel possessed at 11:48 PM on April 3, 2005


Once it gets changed up, of course I'm going to do worse.

This is corrected for. The test is "self-calibrating" in that way. It measures the difference in latency, not just the latency itself.

I'm not convinced of this. I breezed through the first round, but stumbled a few times - on both faces and words - when the categories were switched. I suspect many people did. The test might be useful for drawing general conclusions about a population, as the order is random. I doubt that it can be used to draw strong conclusions about any one individual who takes it.
posted by kanewai at 2:22 AM on April 4, 2005


I don't mean that the test is important for judicial & hiring purposes -- I mean that the study of implicit attitudes is important. If people have latent biases that may affect their behavior, it's important to know how to study them. And believe me, people don't always act in accordance with their explicitly espoused attitudes (see the literature on Russel Fazio's MODE model, or any of the attitude-behavior consistency studies by Azjen & Fishbein).

Secondly, as far as muscle memory goes, that's why they randomize the order and pairing of the items and collect data over many trials. As mentioned before, it measures response latency DIFFERENCE. (You may not be convinced, but the code is freely available.)

I understand the apprehension and knee-jerk reactions about "thought crime." The fact remains that many people no longer explicitly state racist language or racial preferences yet may still harbor some of these tendencies. If these attitudes are somehow affecting people's behavior, isn't it important to study them? That despite our best efforts to create a "color-blind" society, people still harbor biases that affect their behavior?

Your politics aside, the idea of implicit attitudes is an interesting one. We all commit thousands of actions a day and not each of them is well-reasoned and deliberated upon. Wouldn't it be interesting to find out what is driving this behavior?
posted by trey at 4:03 AM on April 4, 2005


Isn't this what I read about in the book Blink? In that going through the list has a tendency to make me feel happier or sadder or walk faster or slower?
posted by codger at 9:21 AM on April 4, 2005


By which I mean to imply that some of us feel badly afterward because of the test itself, not particularly the results.

Or worse.
posted by codger at 9:25 AM on April 4, 2005


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