Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Implicit Associations

After reading Blink, I decided to take some of Harvard's Implicit Association Tasks (IAT) to find out what my sublevel biases are. I just took the Male/Science/Female/Liberal Arts IAT and discovered I have no association bias. It made me happy to know that I'm not against myself:)

I'm going to take a few more and see what comes up. I know, I know--I should be dissertating...

6 Comments:

At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this implicit association stuff, its Freud all over again.

Freud told us 100 years ago that we are controlled by our subconscious. But, the cognitive scientists said, that wasn't science, that was just literature. Now that they can actually measure it, its REAL science.

 
At 7:55 AM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

It's important not to confuse implicit association and the Freudian school of thought--the two are different in many ways. It is really interesting, as you point out, to realize that alhtough we try to believe that our "cognitive side" is in control, our sublevel processes are really driving a lot of our behavior.

 
At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read part of Blink, and it really bugged me. He tends to over simplify and generalize. I study similiar stuff so I'm probably biased though. Just take some of what he says with a grain of salt!

 
At 9:10 AM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

I think that for someone in the field, it would be annoying--I usually have a hard time reading books on genes/neuroscience/cognition. Even the IAT task on Harvard's site has a lot of problems (and it can be beat if you know what's going on). Because it is a book for the everyday reader, however, oversimplification and generalization is important for driving home the major objectives. We have all struggled with this problem when teaching an intro class.

I do think that Blink raises some issues that many people don't think about, even people in "the field". The most important of these issues is that behavior is not always a cognitive process; many times "cognition" is a post hoc resource for thinking about or rationalizing our behavior. It's also important to understand that we can tell ourselves that we are not racist, sexist, etc. because we don't think we are, but the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

 
At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True, people tend to think after the fact lots of times. It happens in learning frequently, many times because people try to make sense of the situation they are in. But this isn't
a new idea, so I guess that is partly why the book annoyed me so much. It just seems very obvious and has been studied in many different arenas already.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

Yes, I agree that it is not a new idea. I've often wondered why so many concepts and theories recycle themselves, presenting as "new concepts" every so many years. My guess is that it has something to do with re-educating each new generation as these ideas are not something taught in everyday classes. To someone like my younger brother, who is now 26, ideas like this are very fresh and interesting because he never had a psychology class--he's never been exposed to this body of literature. That's just a hunch as to why things that we "experts" know keep popping up over and over again as if they were just discovered.

 

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