Are you biased?

Written By: - Date published: 9:43 am, October 8th, 2007 - 4 comments
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And would you even know if you were?

A team of researchers have set up an online test that can help to uncover your subconscious biases.

It’s called the Implicit Association Test (IAT), and it’s designed to detect your hidden biases in categories like race, gender and age.

The test’s part of a larger research project – Project Implicit – an online laboratory designed to raise awareness of the effects of prejudices that we pick up from around us.

It’s worth pointing out that the tests don’t necessarily measure how you *act*, just how you *think*. And most people believe that at least to some degree, we can consciously override our biases.

I found the test fascinating. It opens with the following disclaimer:

I am aware of the possibility of encountering interpretations of my IAT test performance with which I may not agree. Knowing this, I wish to proceed.

There’s plenty more info online but without further ado, here’s the test (takes about 5 minutes).

4 comments on “Are you biased?”

  1. r0b 1

    I have “a strong automatic preference for Multicultural compared to Unicultural.” This is not a suprise to me.

    Interesting “for fun” test, though the methodology is easy to spot.

    Also interesting to combine things like this with: “Liberal and conservative brains differ” http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=292

  2. all_your_base 2

    I’m not sure that I agree. Serious research is being conducted with the same methodology. It’s apparently pretty robust: http://faculty.washington.edu/agg/iat_validity.htm

    I agree that a sample size of one isn’t going to tell you anything significant, nor that you should probably draw too many conclusions about yourself, but I find the general principle interesting nonetheless.

  3. Nih 3

    I find it’s safe to assume you always will be biased. You’d be a very boring human otherwise.

    It’s good to know where those biases lie though.

  4. r0b 4

    “I’m not sure that I agree. Serious research is being conducted with the same methodology. It’s apparently pretty robust:”

    I wasn’t suggesting that the methodology is unsound, just that if you know anything about experimental design and reaction time effects then its easy to see how this test works as you are doing it. OK – I’m not an unbiased sample here, I have worked in this kind of area myself.

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