10 June 2012

Project Implicit - helping identify your preferences

Are you racist? Ageist? Sexist? Prejudiced about people depending on their weight, sexuality or skin tone?

Project Implicit is a series of simple tests that helps you understand any implicit preferences that you hold, of which you may not even be aware. I first heard about it in Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, and recently found the site.

It basically works by showing you photos of people from each group and words associated with good and bad feelings and you need to sort them to the left or right of the screen. The groupings change through the test, so it will go Male/Good, Female/Bad and then Male/Bad, Female/Good. It works by how long it takes you to group the terms and photos and how many you get wrong. The concept being that if it takes you longer to associate women with good words than bad words then you obviously have a negative association for women over men. These generally end up being cultural biases of which you might not be explicitly aware.

These preferences can come down to hundredths of a second timing, but it is really interesting to do the test. I've done two of them so far, I have six more to go (on the Australian tests that is).

I'd love to know whether you find a preference that surprises you?

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