Do you automatically prefer thin people to fat people? Like straight people over gay people? How about young people over old people? Are you sure?
Even if you think you don’t have any prejudices, your unconscious might. That’s the premise of the Implicit Association Test. This quiz was developed by Harvard University Researchers to measure biases that people towards specific groups of people.
The Implicit Association Test seeks to find the relationship between unconscious thoughts and feelings. The quizzes cover a wide range of possible prejudices, including age, weight, race, and sexual orientation. You can also choose what area you are most interested in taking a demonstration test on, or you can take them all. Currently there are fourteen quizzes on the public demonstration site you can participate in.
On the Implicit Association Test Website it states: “This web site has been constructed … to offer the IAT to interested individuals as a tool to gain greater awareness about their own unconscious preferences and beliefs.”
In simple terms, the quiz attempts to expose your true beliefs about certain groups of people or situations. Although you may think that you already know what you believe, you could be deceiving yourself, unaware of a bias that you have. The quiz measure implicit ideas, and are not necessarily expressed thoughts.
The test consists of three parts: a short questionnaire that requires you to disclose some of your demographic information, the quiz, and the results. For best results, you should know very little about the quiz before completing it. The quiz is simple to complete, most can finish in under ten minutes.
After you finish the quiz, no matter what the result, take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions section of the website. In this area, researchers debunk common myths and answer questions you might have after taking this examination. The FAQ also helps explain in more detail what your score might mean.
Even if you don’t have time to take the quiz, taking a look through the FAQ’s is an interesting experience. You may be surprised to learn, for example, that children display preference for their own race more often than adults. Or that many people’s test results indicate a preference for light skinned people, even if they themselves have a darker complexion.
As the Implicit Association Test disclaimer states, this test is not necessarily accurate. However, taking this type of quiz isn’t about getting a good score, it’s about uncovering information about yourself. Try taking this quiz when you have some time to devote to the exercise and to think about the results.