Social Psychology // Implicit Association Test

For this week’s blogpost, I took two Implicit Association Tests. I took the Asian American and Sexuality IATs, which measured for racism and homophobia. The tests called for associating words with a certain group of people, in these tests Asian Americans and homosexuals, by pressing “i” or “e” for the appropriate associations the tests call for. When I began taking the test, I went very slowly to make sure I was getting each answer right. As the test progressed, however, I became more confident in taking the test which caused me to make several mistakes. The results did not surprise me too much, but it was interesting to find out whether I had a preference for a particular group of people or not. The results definitely opened my eyes to some slight biases that I had thought did not exist.

I believe taking the IAT could be useful for college and the workforce, but people who have trouble with coordinating their hands to things may no be very successful on these tests. Despite the mistakes I made on my tests, I think the IAT can reliably measure if someone is inherently racist, sexist, or homophobic. I believe the IAT can reveal our hidden biases and slight preferences that are likely shaped by the environment we grew up in. By reviewing these results, we will be more aware of ourselves and form less automatic negative associations and assumptions with a certain group of people.

Social Psychology

After taking the IAT test I am very convinced to the results I have experienced. I know that these test are designed to discover my inner feelings and thoughts so I should not know right away if these test are correct but after taking 3 test I feel as though these test have predicted me to a T. Without disclosing my test results, I did take 3 test that all involved race or ethnicity, and got the same results for each one. During all three test I could feel myself answering the questions honestly and I could even tell when the test had made me doubt myself. Overall I believe this test is very good in not giving you a way out, or in other words allowing you to cheat the system. In multiple occasions I wanted to answer in one way but got the question wrong and before I could answer fast enough the system had already recognized I had hesitated.

After getting the results I can’t argue that the results are not right. Everything was accurate regardless of what I wanted the result to be. I knew in my heart that I wanted the results to lean one way but in reality they lead the other and with this I believe this test is one of the most accurate ones I have ever taken.

With this test taken to the college level, I feel the test could be accurate in helping students understand what they really want. With the test not allowing you to lie, it could be good to show the student what really lies beneath. In terms of career amplitude and what their work ethic is

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is the mental stress experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs when performing an action that contradicts one of those beliefs. One of my most notable experiences with cognitive dissonance came in high school. I decided to take AP English to challenge myself, since English already wasn’t my favorite subject. I struggled with the class the entire year, and nothing seemed to improve my performance. Eventually I lost interest in the class, and justified losing interest by convincing myself that English is a useless subject. While this assertion is narrow-minded and ignorant, it did help me cope with the fact that I was performing poorly in a class. I believe cognitive dissonance serves as a defense/coping mechanism when we are faced with a compromising situation. As we discussed in class, coping mechanisms aim to reduce stress through any means possible. While cognitive dissonance may not be the most beneficial coping mechanism, it does serve a purpose without doing substantial damage. Additionally, I discussed how important perspective can be on a stressful situation in my last post. If cognitive dissonance changes one’s perspective for the better and alleviates stress, then by all means engage in it.

FIP – Cognitive Dissonance

This week in Psychology, we are discussing the theory of cognitive dissonance, which is when two opposing thoughts or facts are known to someone and to take away some of the discomfort of these conflicting things, the mind changes its behavior and attitude.  For example, one time in my Biology class last semester, I had decided to study extra hard for the upcoming exam that week.  I hadn’t been doing great on the tests so I thought finally studying and taking the time to look over my notes would definitely boost my grade on the next exam.  Finally, that Friday came and I felt more prepared than I had been int he past exams in this class.  As I took the test, I felt as though I was acing every question and knew every answer on it.  I felt confident that I had gotten a good grade on the exam.  The next week, our professors handed our tests back to us and to my surprise, I barely passed the test.  My grade was higher than my pervious ones, but not by much.  I knew that I had studied really hard before the exam and this was a shock to me.  As friends and classmates asked what I got on the exam I began to say things like “Yeah, I didn’t study that much though”, or “I didn’t have any time to study so…”, when, in fact, I had studied harder than I had before on any of my previous tests in Biology class.  By saying these things to friends and classmates, it eased the discomfort I felt, knowing I had studied hard for the exam and had still made a poor grade.  This use of cognitive dissonance was a way for me to cope with my poor grade, knowing I had studied hard.  I think in situations, such as mine, it is normal for humans to try and ease the discomfort or conflict inside of them.  I do think, however, sometimes it could get out of hand.  In politics, for example, it wouldn’t be good if the President sugar-coated serious issues and made excuses to minimize their importance and impact.  People in more influential and powerful roles, such as the President should do everything in their power to avoid this way of coping.  It can benefit us in minor, small risk situations; but used in the wrong situation or context could lead to catastrophic corruption and misunderstandings.

First Impression Post: Cognitive Dissonance

In the video that I watched about the cognitive dissonance, there was an experiment conducted to see if the people taking the trial would take 20 dollars to lie about the experiment or take 1 dollar and lie to themselves of how fun it was. When I was in high school I had to work hard to go to state for cross country in my high school years but never was I able to go to state no matter how much effort I put. I at least made it to regionals and was able to run my best time my senior year.I was upset about being so close to going to state my senior year and being so close to breaking the school record but then I reminded myself, I gave all my effort in my last race and the competition was hard which could of ended worse if I did not try to run as fast as I did.

I believe its bad to promote a lie about a belief that a person believes is not right because it could possibly put others in danger. For example, a person lying about a dangerous job can lead a new worker to getting hurt or death if it was just a prank.I believe cognitive dissonance should be avoided because it can lead to someone doing something the person does not want to do.

Social Psychology: IAT

When taking the Implicit Association Test, or IAT, I chose the test that was under the category of weight. This test was set up to find the ‘preference’ I have towards others; rather, if I feel more compelled to thin people than to fat people. It is typical for people to have a preference towards thin people over fat people. To my knowledge, I do not have a preference of one over the other. This is both applicable to both people in general, friends, and/or significant others. To no surprise, my results came back to say that I had no preference over the other. I think that these types of tests can be helpful towards students working towards their career so that they can see what they may unconsciously be doing towards others. This is a way that could awaken someone to be more aware of their thoughts towards other groups that differ from themselves or who they associate with. However, this test varies in accuracy so it should not be so heavily relied upon for assessment of someone’s true preferences.

Week 13 First Impression Post

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.

First Impressions: Week 13

For this weeks first impression we were asked to complete an Implicit Association test (IAT). This test consisted of images that were to be paired with words and speed with which those images were paired. I was not very surprised with the first result which indicated that I have an automatic preference to associate positive words like “good looking” to myself than negative words like “ugly”. I was not surprised with this because I do not consider myself an ugly person. I never actively consider myself good looking, but I do actively consider myself not ugly so this result makes sense. The second result was initially surprising to me, but after reflection I was not surprised at all. This result said that I have a preference of black people over white people, and as I am white I was initially a little surprised. After thinking about it, however, I realized that in movies like dances with wolves and twelve years a slave I find myself absolutely hating the collective “white people” in those movies because of the awful things they do. Anyway this is straying off topic and into a much more difficult and personal discussion than I think necessary, so I will address other aspects of this test leaving my previous comments as contextual support. I think that these tests can be helpful in getting to know yourself when dealing with people in everyday life, especially in your job. I say this because with such a large population of people and the growing size of cities, it is likely that lots of people will deal with others whom they have never met before and first impressions are a big deal (especially in this psych course). If you have an innate tendency to associate a group of people with something or prefer a group of people over another, it is useful to know about this so you can try to manage it. With that being said, this test seemed like it was not necessarily very reliable because it relied heavily on concentration ability and on days (like today for me) when you have gotten little sleep and are not focusing very well, the results may differ than times when you are fresh.

Uncovering our Thoughts

I chose to take two Implicit Association Tests: One of them being the sexuality (Gay Straight) IAT test. I understood that these test results did not indicate whether I was definitively racist or homophobic, and that its purpose was to shed some insight in my own thoughts and how this self understanding helps me interact with others.

The results of my sexuality test revealed that I apparently have no automatic preference for gay or straight people. This was something that I have believed in pretty strongly since high school as a result of my schooling and being around people with different preferences and interacting with both gay in straight people in quite positive ways.

For the second test, I was expecting myself to get the same answer, where I did not have a preference, but as the test went on, I could see myself leaning another way. I was surprised at the end at myself and felt a sinking feeling in my stomach as a result.

From these results, I think that these tests can give us insight in how we tend to associate perceive others. Revealing these parts of our thoughts can help us take actions to change. Now that we have a heightened awareness, perhaps the next time we feel ourselves being biased in some sort of way, we can think about this test and prepare what we ought to say.


Social Psychology

Do you have any idea what cognitive dissonance is? Cognitive dissonance is the state of uneasiness that comes from holding two contradictory beliefs. When there is a difference between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eradicate or reduce this conflict.  I remember back when I was younger my grandfather, my Papa, would take me fishing; however, I did not enjoy fishing back then but now I do. There is where cognitive dissonance occurred for me, I wanted to make my Papa happy by going fishing with him and enjoying, but I myself did not like it or killing the fish that we were able to catch. After some thinking on what was more important to me, my stubbornness and love for animals or my love for my Papa and his happiness. In the end, I decided that I wanted to make my Papa happy so I tried acting that I enjoyed fishing, and a few years later I noticed that I actually began enjoying this hobby and I still do. I still feel bad about killing and eating the fish that I catch; however, now I realize that it is a part of life and that I shouldn’t feel so guilty about trying to enjoy life and surviving in it.

Honestly, I feel a bit biased on the opinion on whether cognitive dissonance is a good thing and should be utilized or a bad thing people should try to avoid. In my situation I see using cognitive dissonance as a good thing and should be promoted; however, using cognitive dissonance could have some negative results at the same time, depending on the factors and situation. One example of a scenario is a girl deciding between the beliefs she grew up with and everybody around her has vs. the personal beliefs and thoughts that she herself has. So while I do think cognitive dissonance can have good results the decision made may not always the right one or the best one to be chosen.