January 31, 2005

Have You Stopped Beating Your Wife?

So how racist are you, exactly?  Harvard thinks they have a way of figuring that out, via the Harvard Implicit Association Test (Courtesy Tim Blair.)

This test purports to discover what hidden biases you might have on race, gender, sexuality or any one of a number of things.  The methodology the test seems to use is based largely on what appears to be the Freudian Slip methodology.  Take it and you'll see what I mean.

The part that I found supremely interesting was that I took the test to determine whether or not I was biased in favor of Kerry or Bush.  Now, I am going to wait a minute for you all to look back through my posting history and form your own judgment on where I stand.  Don't worry, go ahead - I'll wait.

Back?  Good.  The Harvard folks told me that I have somewhere from a slight to moderate bias in favor of ...  Kerry.


So, all I can figure is that the test is a good mechanism for telling you what word associations have been seared, seared in your memory by a mind-numbingly relentless media assault.  In other words, after hearing the 4.9 million assertions that Bush = Hitler, it seems that the word association game gets weighted a bit to go along with whatever the dominant saturation message of the day happens to be.

Now, just for a flight of fancy, suppose that we assume that Harvard is a bastion of the leftist liberal elite intelligentsia, and that the media establishment is heavily biased towards the left, wouldn't this then make the Harvard test a measure of how effective the media is in telling us what we think?

Personally, I think that argument is a bit tin-foil hattish.  Nonetheless, I still stand by the assertion that the test is a better measure of what reflexive word associations have been impressed upon us by our environment, rather than any latent bias.

And I was kind of hoping that anything of this magnitude that Harvard chose to roll out wouldn't have produced such contrary results so very easily.

But then again, I'm not an Ivy Leaguer.

(Simultaneously launched by Bravo Romeo Delta from Demosophia, The Jawa Sun-Times, & Anticipatory Retaliation)

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