This week in psychology, I chose to answer option #1 for the first impression blog prompt regarding social psychology. This prompt essentially asked me to take two Implicit Association Tests and react to my results. Implicit Association Tests can identify unconscious biases that you aren’t aware that you have. I chose to take the ‘Arab Muslim-Other People’ IAT and the ‘Gay-Straight’ IAT because I felt that they were very relevant in the current sociopolitical context and I was curious as to whether I would demonstrate any strong bias. I felt fairly confident going into the tests that I would do fairly well at answering correctly but when the labels were switched in the tests I found myself reacting quickly and incorrectly. I was pleased to see that I don’t have any particular preference between Arab Muslims and other people according to the test but I was surprised to see that the test said I had a slight preference for straight people over gay people. At first, I was pretty confused by this result because I have a lot of friends who are gay and I don’t feel any kind of aversion towards them or preference for my straight friends. As I began to think things through, however, I realized that when I was growing up all I heard about gay people was negative and even though I don’t have any conscious bias against gay people, it’s very possible that I formed some unconscious connections between homosexuality and negative feelings such as shame and humiliation.
I think this test can be very useful for college students and professionals because in both settings, you are required to work with people who are different from you in a variety of ways. These tests can allow you to identify some of the possible biases that you may or may not be aware of so that you can make a conscious effort to overcome those biases when you interact with your classmates and colleagues.