Thursday, October 30

Implicit association

Nicholas Kristof has an interesting op-ed in the New York Times about people's perception of "foreign" based on skin color. He talks of a study at the Harvard University where the researchers tried to capture the subjects' implicit association when it comes to Obama and his being "fully American." And apparently even avid Obama supporters revealed through the implicit association test that they perceived Obama as more foreign than even Tony Blair.

I went ahead and took the test here and the results did not surprise me. For one I said so in the initial personal information page. With due respect to the researchers and the modellers of this test, I am not sure how this thing worked especially after they had asked me specific questions in the initial questionnaire. Were the test results exclusive of the answers in the questionnaire? Another thing that bothered me was that each time I pressed the wrong key, it showed me that I had done that and I could correct it. I would like to assume that the wrong answer was taken as an indication of my implicit association. If not, then I did not understand the test properly.

Though I took the second test too, the way their result was displayed made it difficult to interpret and compare to the first test.

Anyways the first test results are that I have a "moderate automatic preference for" white people over black, and for Obama over McCain. You go ahead and test your automatic preference.

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