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Project Implicit: Implicit Bias Self-Testing

Overview

People don’t always say what’s on their minds. One reason is that they are unwilling. For example, someone might report smoking a pack of cigarettes per day because they are embarrassed to admit that they smoke two. Another reason is that they are unable. A smoker might truly believe that she smokes a pack a day, or might not keep track at all. The difference between being unwilling and unable is the difference between purposely hiding something from someone and unknowingly hiding something from yourself.

What You’ll Find

The Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. The IAT may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about. For example, you may believe that women and men should be equally associated with science, but your automatic associations could show that you (like many others) associate men with science more than you associate women with science.

Project Implicit is a non-profit organization and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition – thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. The goal of the organization is to educate the public about hidden biases and to provide a “virtual laboratory” for collecting data on the Internet.

Reflection

  • Did your result from the Implicit Association Test surprise you? How can you use the results to help overcome your own implicit biases?

Write a Review

  1. This was really interesting. There are many categories to choose from, and they break down how the data is interpreted at the end – in case you disagree and/or just want to see how they came to the conclusion. Each category takes about 10 minutes. As I try to be as open to different perspectives as an interpreter, it was intriguing to take the tests and while realizing how they were getting to the point of the study what I was feeling and the mental tricks my brain was trying to do to score “well” on a test. It made me wonder how others might look at the exercise in a different way.

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  2. I enjoyed the couple tests that I took – my results were not surprising, but it was interesting to see what the results came out to be. I felt like I was focusing more on answering the questions correctly from a “memory game” standpoint, but maybe that was part of the test too….

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  3. A few of the results of the Implicit Association Test did not surprise me while others did. The creators of the tests say that there is no evidence that one’s implicit bias can be changed but recommended test takers use strategies to avoid making decisions that may be influenced by implicit bias. For example, conduct interviews blindly. If we are to live and work with our implicit bias, then how may we deal with them to be the people we would like to be? I think finding strategies is the next step after being aware of implicit bias. So, I’ll try to find out.

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