03 March 2009

Implicitly Updating

I had a student call me this morning and ask if he could take the test on a different day because he had not had time to do the homework yet. I suppose I could be refreshed by the honesty ... mostly I'm just disgusted that he thinks he merits an exception. I strongly suspect that this student is fresh out of high school, as he often refers to our 8:00 class as "first period."

Anyway, I ran across the Implicit Association Test via a link from a link from Evolving Thoughts, and I've been playing around with it every so often. Most of the results haven't surprised me much. Here's what I came up with tonight:

Your data suggest a moderate automatic association of Religion with False and Science with True.

Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for Change compared to Preserve.

What this kind of test does is pair something like "good" and "bad" with various concepts/pictures/etc, and see if there's a difference in your response time for the different pairings. So in the second instance, I was slower when "Preserve" was paired with "Good" than I was when "Change" was paired with "Good."

I think I would have gotten a "strong" automatic association of Religion with False had "Buddhism" not been one of the religion words. I don't really think of Buddhism as a religion. Yes, there are some sects which are very definitely and thoroughly religious, but there are others that are mainly philosophical, and that's where my interests are. I had to consciously think to remember that Buddhism was supposed to go in the "religion" category. I don't think of it as a science, either... Best comparison I can think of is if "Existentialism" or "Platonism" or "Utilitarianism" were placed in the "religion" category.

AM UPDATE: I just ran across an article from Mind Hacks discussing the very same Implicit Association test, for anyone who wants more info.

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