Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just how open-minded are you?

Anyone fancy a bit of science?

I just found this fascinating study into 'implicit association'. Sign up and sit tests to get some very interesting insights into how your secret brain tends to work. It might not be as straightforward as you think. I'll fess up first.


Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for Heterosexuals compared to Homosexuals.

And I thought I was so blase about sexual preference. Of course, it could be ascribed to a function of the test. Also, I wouldn't discount the fact that when I encounter a straight man there's usually the possibility (theoretical, boyf, it's not going to happen) of schtupping them, which is more attractive/compelling than the prospect of platonic interaction with a gay man*. Then again, perhaps there is some element of my subconscious that is less egalitarian than I would like to think.

Anyway, now for the good news - when it comes to Science and Religion, according to this test I can claim impartiality:

Your data suggest little to no automatic association between Science and Religion with True and False.

So, feel free to re-educate my subconscious on homosexuality, but if you want an objective opinion on god or science, I'm your woman! Anyone else willing to share their subconscious associations? I'd love to hear them!

*the test was explicitly focussed on gay men and straight men. It'd be interesting to resit with gay/straight women as the focus.


Janine Ashbless said...

Fascinating tests ... I came out as having no overall preference for either gay or straight people, but with a moderate automatic association between African-Americans and weapons.
Hmm...Too many cop shows, eh?

Nikki Magennis said...

Hi Janine

I think it's so interesting! Apparently the author Malcolm Gladwell (I read about these tests in his book 'Blink') found subconscious attitudes towards, for example, African Americans improved after a subject is shown pictures of 'positive' role models like Martin Luther King.

I don't know how long these attitude changes would last or how long it would take to permanently recondition a brain. (And that phrase makes me feel a bit creepy, too.)

But I think it illustrates how much we can learn without realising it - not all of it necessarily good, either.