Uncovering hidden biases

April 25, 2006

Mind Hacks linked to an interesting article in Science News, "The Bias Finders", which is about the relatively new "implicit association" tests that can tell how much you are subconsciously biased regarding certain issues such as race, gender, social status, etc.

Particularly disturbing was the observation that these biases seem easier to create than to remove. When people are told stories with nonsense words fitting a pattern where one subconsciously associates a certain kind of word with positive connotations and another kind of word with negative connotaions, people immediately tested to have an implicit bias towards the positively connotated words. When asked to retake the test with the associations switched, the people said that they prefered the positive words, but tested to still implicitly preferred the words that were now associated with negative connotations.

This only supports my argument that we should begin brainwashing children in school as early as possible… to adopt biases towards equality, and positivity towards all ethnicities, genders, and social status levels. There's something about it that just sounds wrong though, isn't there.  Hmm…

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