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Implicit Association Test

Just recently, I was able to spare some time and complete a study that was presented to us in class in a lecture slide. The study I completed was called the Implicit Association Test, which can be found at www.implicit.harvard.edu/implicit. Before partaking in this study, I was a little unsure of what would be asked of how it would be asked. I’ve taken a few studies before in some psychology classes, so I figured they would be similar. However, this was much different. In the study, I was asked if two numbers were the same or if they were different. Based on if they were alike or different, I would click a specifically designated button on the keyboard. If I chose correctly, I would then have to pick between two creatures, one red and another a random color that wasn’t red. If I picked the red one, I would then receive 10 points. If I chose the random color that wasn’t red, I received zero points. This may seem pretty easy, but I had to answer these questions before the time limit, which was one second.

The second part of the study consisted of me grouping words and pictures together. I have once did a study similar to this in psychology, so I was somewhat familiar. For instance, the study would tell me to click the letter “i” if the picture was a mammal or the word was a good word. If the picture wasn’t of a mammal and/or was a bad word, I would then click the letter “e.” After putting mammals and words into groups or deciding they did not belong, I then had to compare creatures of color, such as red and purple. For instance, the study would tell me that good words and red creatures belonged into a group, so when I seen either of those two, I would click the “i” key. If they didn’t belong into that group, I would then click the “e” key. This part of the study was a little more difficult because they would keep switching up the categories, meaning that one time it would want the red creatures and good words grouped together and then another category would want the purple creatures and good words grouped together. Trying to remember which category I was doing was difficult when I was trying to go as fast as possible.

At the end of the study, they presented me with my results. After seeing the results, I’m not really sure exactly what it means. They said that the data suggest a slight automatic preference for the red creatures compared to the purple creatures. I assume that this study is race based, considering the study was to give colored creatures categories, although I’m not entirely sure. Apparently I was quicker to put the red creatures in a category with good words than I was with the purple creatures and good words. I don’t think this tool helped me become more mindful of my privileges or oppression what so ever. Maybe someone could help me understand what these result mean exactly?


1 Comment

  1. lekwatson says:

    I agree with you. The test are very ambiguous… I took the IAT for Fat vs. Thin people twice. The first resulte stating that I favored thin people over fat people but, because I know myself, I’m over weight and I don’t knowing practice self-hate, I took the test twice. The second resulted showed that I had an equal liking to both thin and fat people. Now does this mean that the second test reveal the true me or that because I was more familiar with the material that I scored better? But I think test that make women think of body images in negative ways help perpetuate low self-esteem and eating disorders.

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