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Reflecting on the IAT (Implicit Association Test from Harvard)

Hello my dear friends! Today I will be writing about a very interesting test that tries to highlight any unconscious bias that I can have. Yes, people can have biases towards or against certain groups for instance without them acknowledging it, according to Binna Kandola’s youtube video. Honestly I think that I acknowledge my biases, and I say that I have biases without shame, because no one can truly be unbiased, but we can either be aware of our biases or blinded and cannot determine them. Therefore, I thought that it will be necessary to check test my hypothesis by taking the IAT test, reflect on it to you and truly see if I am aware or unaware of any biases that I have, and most importantly to research about the credibility of the test and give you guys an honest feedback of what I found!

To start off, I decided to take the sexuality IAT. As I said before, I do have a bias against homosexuals because I find it utterly incorrect in every religion and not just in mine. I think that homosexuals oppose the basic concept of life that includes, but not limited to, having children and increasing the world population to construct and improve the human race. I invite you my friends to tell me your own opinions on the topic of homosexuality, do you have a bias towards or against it? Talk to me and enlighten me with your ideas, because I always enjoy listening to others views and to reflect critically on my own views relative to others’. As I expected, the results of the test clearly shows that I favor heterosexuals to homosexuals. The study response that I got is “Your responses suggested a strong automatic preference for Straight people over Gay people” and that is something that I do not deny and I will maintain my view on this topic. I find that the results of the test are accurate because it indicated my preference to straight people relative to homosexuals. I do not want people to feel offended or to think that I am “uneducated”, many people have biases against homosexuals especially in Arabic countries. Additionally, I believe that many people do not want to speak their true minds due to too much peer pressure and social media pressure. Again, I do not want anyone to feel offended, if you are gay then so be it I will not fight you or try to make you think differently, I will just prefer not to interact with you.

Secondly, I decided to sit for another test for something that I tend to believe that I am neutral and have no bias towards or against. The new test is the Gender-career test. The test simply revolves around biases towards or against families and genders in terms of careers. Many people tend to think that men automatically have better and more successful careers than women but I personally do not find that this is the case. I want you guys to tell me your own perspective on this topic of Gender-Career and whether you find that it makes a difference or not. Also please feel free to explain all your ideas and thoughts as I learn from all your ideas and comments and I want to think back on major points that can arise from one of my friends here on the blog! Yet again the output I received from the test conforms with my hypothesis that I am neutral and do not prefer a gender in terms of family or career. The response I received is “Your responses suggested little or no automatic association between Female and Male with Career and Family.” In fact, I always think in a way that I assume is different than many men think, especially in the workspace environment. I believe that women are achievers and excel in all fields and careers no matter how “hard” it is. In fact, I admire hardworking and successful women more than men because I feel that women are successful naturally but their success does not get enough attention as men, and I think that women feel suppressed and that their limits have a ceiling, which is not the case at all. I admire successful women in male dominated region which is the workspace, because successful women outsmarts and outworks their male peers to the extent that their success has to be acknowledged. Also, women are more patient relative to men (check the results part, page 10), and as we all know that patience is a virtue inside and outside of the workspace. Hence, this increased level of patience can be positive as women do not lose their temper or snap quickly as men when something does not go according to plan. Additionally, women with children have harder time to outshine their peers because not only they have to succeed in the workspace but also they have to succeed in their maternal lives and what makes it harder is that children are more attached to their mothers than their fathers! I am not trying to take away men successes at all no, but I am simply trying to provide some of my own reasons that makes me say that I am neutral in the gender-career topic and that rather than telling women they cannot make it, just motivate female workers with good and kind words and I am certain that societies will receive even more marvelous work coming from females, and this shows that the test accurately depicts my own stance regarding this matter! Finally, I want to tell my male friends that we should always motivate and help all females in our lives to excel and they will do because life is built on balance and killing the essential and excellent skills of women is definitely a drawback that if societies use correctly, the entire planet will become better!

The last part of today’s blog my friends is to represent to you the credibility of these IATs coming from not only my own experience and what you read, but also research done to validate the tests by the psychology community. I personally believe that the tests are credible and reliable because the outcome of the tests were exactly what I was expecting them to be even before doing the test as I mentioned above. I believe that the test collects data from my responses and tries to understand my stance regarding the addressed topic and it produces the results based on my answers and hence this is why it can tell if someone has unknown biases and I think this is credible. Additionally, the test is conducted by Harvard university, one of the most notable, prestigious, and highly ranked universities in the world and therefore I can only assume that these tests or studies were invented by experts in the field and this adds credibility to the results. On the other hand, according to research, the IAT is actually not that accurate or valid because the test results can change every trial and therefore doing one test only is not enough. Furthermore, I found this sentence which really surprised me as I thought that the test is valid, but apparently it is not.  The researchers who created the test and maintain it at the Project Implicit website mentioned that: “the IAT is not good for predicting individual biases based on just one test. It requires a collection of tests before it can really make any sort of conclusions” according an article published by the university of Toronto. Therefore, according to research of people who have more knowledge than me in the sector of psychology and unconscious bias, it can be said that the IAT is not that valid or credible even if it is produced by a notable learning organization like Harvard. Simply, one has to do the same test many times in order to see a pattern or a trend and even then one cannot be definitely sure about any unconscious biases that one can have!

So my friends, I left the links for the tests that I did and you can find other tests in the links I provided. Please take the time and do one or two tests and tell me the results you obtained and whether they were predetermined or unexpected results, and explain to me why you are aware or unaware of any biases that you might have!


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