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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Harvard offers online research test that detects your level of "implicit racism"

This test, which is now being administered by Harvard University, suggests that it can inform you of your level of “implicit racism.”
Here’s an ABC News story about the test.

Tell someone that he’s sexist, ageist or racist nowadays and it’s easy to get a red-faced defensive reaction. In modern times, men and women of all backgrounds would rather believe themselves to be benevolent egalitarians.
Yet, while few want to be known as a bigot, millions of people seem to wonder, “am I?” — and going to the Project Implicit Web site to find out.
Started as a research tool at Yale in 1995, Project Implicit now has 11 million tests completed, and 20,000 new tests taken each week by Web surfers curious about their possible unconscious biases.
Participants are instructed to assign a class of attributes — such as smart, lazy or failure — to a single group of people — such as women, Christians, or Americans — with one or two keystrokes as fast as they can. The point is to measure the first reaction, not the self-edited one.
The conscious or unconscious preferences may include thoughts about pets, sports teams, religion or the most controversial – race.
“It’s become the biggest behavioral science experiment ever. It just ballooned beyond our wildest imagination,” said Brian Nosek, a professor at the University of Virginia and one of three initial creators of the project. Mahzarin Banaji, of Harvard University, and Tony Greenwald of the University of Washington also created the first Implicit Association Tests, or IATs.
Nosek said the first IATs were designed to chip away at the question: Do we have complete access to our own minds and to the basis of our behaviors?
From the results of the 11 million tests finished so far, Nosek is willing to guess the answer is no.
“No we don’t have complete access to our own minds,” said Nosek. “I might be doing things — deciding who to hire, who to help in my class — by associations that I don’t even know are there.”
Are you White and want to find out how secretly racist you are? Go here.

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