July 22, 2014

Implicit Bias Test

Unconscious Bias Test: Test yourself—Project Implicit, Implicit Association Test IAT.

This is an online test of quick responses to a series of words and pictures; the test measures response time to the computer images as a proxy for implicit bias. Many—including those who are major researchers in the field of implicit bias and who have committed themselves to work for civil rights, equality, and diversity—find the bias reflected by their scores to be surprising and troubling. The site itself offers this disclaimer:

It is well known that people do not always ‘speak their minds’, and it is suspected that people do not always ‘know their minds’. Understanding such divergences is important to scientific psychology. This web site presents a method that demonstrates the conscious-unconscious divergences much more convincingly than has been possible with previous methods. This new method is called the Implicit Association Test, or IAT for short.

We will ask you (optionally) to report your attitudes toward or beliefs about these topics, and provide some general information about yourself. These demonstrations should be more valuable if you have also tried to describe your self-understanding of the characteristic that the IAT is designed to measure. Also, a variety of factors may influence your IAT performance. The score is provided for entertainment purposes only.

Data exchanged with this site are protected by SSL encryption, and no personally identifying information is collected. IP addresses are routinely recorded, but are completely confidential.

Important disclaimer: In reporting to you results of any IAT that you take, we will mention possible interpretations that have a basis in research done at the University of Washington, University of Virginia, Harvard University, and Yale University. However, these Universities, as well as the individual researchers who have contributed to this site, make no claim for the validity of these suggested interpretations. If you are unprepared to encounter interpretations that you might find objectionable, please do not proceed further. You may prefer to examine general information about the IAT before deciding whether or not to proceed.

As the Harvard disclaimer suggests, not all researchers are in agreement on the value of the IAT, or on its relevance and significance in terms of actual behavior. The bibliography contains some of the research on this point.