For my choice I elected to take a few IAT tests.  Going into these I expected to know my answer before I took the test.  I had to either push a certain key associated with a specific topic or click a separate box for different topics.  I was highly surprised by my results to show a my have a slight preference for the opposite direction as what I thought.  I believe this test can be highly useful for college students because if they are trying to break a habit these tests may show automatic tendencies that one may need to keep an eye out for.  Also these can help explain automatic preferences so you know which biases to avoid whenever there is any type of an experiment.

Week 13: Social Psychology

This week in class we have been talking about social psychology. The task this week was to take two different IAT tests and discover our results. I decided to take the sexuality IAT and the race IAT. I have never taken one of these tests before so it was a very new and interesting experience. For the sexuality test I had to select between pictures and words related to homosexuals and heterosexuals , and for other sections I had to pick between words that represented something good and between words that represented something bad. The hardest task was when both the pictures and the words were placed together and I had to view one group as bad and the other as the good group. I found it very difficult to select words that represented something bad and connect it to a certain group. My results were very shocking to me because I am a very open minded individual and I am very accepting about different ideas. For the sexuality IAT my results showed that I preferred heterosexuals , and for the race IAT my results showed that I preferred European Americans. I personally feel that I treat everyone with the same respect no matter what their sexual preferences are and what their color of their skin is. I was very skeptical of both of my results and it hurt to see that my results in a way demonstrated me to appear as an unfair individual that places a greater value on a certain group. I know these tests don’t have the capacity of pin-point someone to be either homophobic or racist , but it is still tough to see how our instinct to pin-point one group as good and the other as bad is due to that split second decision that is made due to the affect that different social experiences have caused within us. These test could be helpful to us in different college settings to teach students about different people around them. It would be interesting to give these tests during freshman orientation and allow the students to share their results and to see how everyone reacts to their results and to the results of the people around them. I think it would be eye-opening to some and it could teach everyone that there are different people we come into contact each day, and in a way there’s no way of escaping that. I think that by seeing how different we all are it could help students become more accepting of the idea and allow them to create a closer bond with one another.

FIP- Social Psychology

I personally found the IAT to be interesting to take. The way the test is done shows how quickly you associate different groups with positive or negative words and therefore stereotypes.  The results of my tests were not particularly surprising in my opinion and I was mostly aware of the results I received. I think this test is useful to college students because it gives us a chance to notice and possibly change our biases if we want. For a lot of college students, college is the beginning of forming your own true opinion without being weighed down by your hometown or by the beliefs of your parents. So it can be beneficial for lots of college students to take this test because it can help them to fully acknowledge their biases and grow from them.

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance refers to the internal tension which arises when we opt to engage in a behavior which conflicts with our prior beliefs and values. In order to reduce this tension, most people resort to either justifying the behavior by altering their prior values, creating a belief which allows them to justify the behavior, or stopping the behavior altogether. This tension is not uncommon to have. For example, I studied very much during my first semester of organic chemistry. Out of all of the classes I was in, I spent the most time working on Ochem. I used a variety of techniques to try and master the material to a point where I felt comfortable with it. The second exam of the semester did not go so well for me even though I put in so much effort and hard work. Before and even during the exam, I truly believed I was going to do well. When I got the exam back and saw the grade, I did get upset and had much cognitive dissonance, so much so, I came up with multiple beliefs as to why this could be. The first was that it had been the professor’s fault for not teaching the material well, giving such a hard test, and then being super picky when grading it. This was easy for me to believe because most people did not do very well either. Another justification I made was that it really does not matter in the long run because I am only taking the class to get credit to go to medical school; I will not need to apply what I learned (or apparently did not learn) in the future. Although this second realization is kind of true, it really influenced the rest of my semester because it caused me to not study as much for the class. Why study about elimination reactions when really I should be learning more practical things, like how to do taxes? Safe to say, I ended up doing well in the class. Another common example is when I sometimes go out and do community service. While I value the importance of donation drives, I do not enjoy spending 2-3 hours working in the heat. In this case, I tend to convince myself that working in the heat is not so bad.

I have mixed emotions about cognitive dissonance. On one hand, it promotes lies which we tell ourselves. In the video for example, the $1 participants lied to themselves and to others about how enjoyable the task was. I think this is something to be avoided. In addition, altering a past belief is not a healthy thing to do, unless it really is for the better. In my case, I solidly believed I had studied and worked hard enough to prepare for the exam. I am not going to completely rethink this because of a single test score. I also think cognitive dissonance allows us to justify unhealthy behaviors. For example, smokers who justify their behavior by saying it is okay as long as they do not drink or as long as they stick to a certain limit. On the other hand, when it does not result in the justification of unhealthy behaviors, it allows us to regain our emotional equilibrium by promoting a sense of behavioral control and understanding.

Week 13 First Impression Prompts – Social Psychology

Hand writing on a notebook

Here are the two prompts for this week. Regardless of which prompt you choose, use the tag “Social Psychology.”

Option 1

The Implicit Association Test (which can be accessed through this link) is a tool to identify biases which may be outside your conscious awareness. The results of this test cannot determine whether or not you are racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., but they are useful to help you understand yourself and how you interact with others. For this post, you must take two separate IAT tests from the link above. You do not need to share your results if you don’t want to, but you need to talk about the experience of taking the test and getting the results, comment on whether or not the results were surprising, and discuss how this test can be useful for college students or your future career.

Option 2

Would you enjoy a task more if I gave you $1 to do it or $20 to do it? Many of you will probably say you’d rather have the $20, but research suggests you will probably enjoy it more if I only give you a single dollar. Watch this footage to see:

Describe a time in your life when you think you experienced a change in beliefs due to cognitive dissonance, and argue whether you think this is a good thing we should promote and utilize or a bad thing we should try to avoid.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Caitlinator
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IAT Test

The two IAT Test’s that I took we on age and weight. The age IAT Test was supposed to determine if I chose young people over old people, while the weight test was for me to see if I chose thin people over fat people. I want to say that I was surprised on what my results were, and I expected something different from what appeared. For one, I thought I didn’t really care for my preference over both age or weight, however my results showed otherwise. I want to doubt the results, because I did not like the way we had to be tested. For example, I did not see the point in having to correctly choose which person is fat and which person is thin for 10 minutes, because I do not understand how that would help determine if I prefer thin over fat people if I am just simply matching the pictures. I think instead of the simulation, it should have been more questions. I don’t think this test would necessarily be beneficial for college students, unless you just want to know the results just out of curiosity. I do, however, think this test would be great for people who are trying to get a job. For example, people who are unsure about what kind of field they want to work in, what kind of environment they would work well in, or who they would work better with, are all questions that can be answered by taking one of the IAT Tests. Maybe these kinds of tests should even be required to take in order to start applying for jobs. Overall, I thought taking these tests were interesting due to the results you get, but at the same time the way these tests were set up made me doubt my results.


I decided to take the Implicit Association Tests. The first test I took was the test determining how good or bad I am. It does not determine if you are racist, sexual, or homophobic but Implicit Association tests are useful to help understand more of yourself and others. Initially I consider myself as more of a ‘good’ person than bad. The test first asked me questions focusing on my social status and economical issues as well. After a bunch of questions I then had to identify pronouns about myself and either tie them into the categories of good or bad words. This was supposed to be done as quickly as possible which was challenging and I think it was supposed to test how you identify yourself impulsively on a good or bad spectrum. My results ranked me as more of a good person as opposed to bad. The questions asked seemed more of a better way to identify biases which may be outside your conscious awareness. I could also see how the speed test would determine thoughts or opinions outside of your control of conscious thoughts. The second test I completed was the anxiety brief implicit association test. The test took me through  the same activity from the first test where you would have to input a certain letter on the keyboard if the words Me myself I correlated to the category of being anxious or calm. Then next part took me though a series of the exact same questions asking about race, religion, economical opinions, social opinions, country of residence, and then finished with my results. I do identify as a very calm person, and the test accurately reflected my results. I am not a very anxious person unless put in the presence of something that makes me uncomfortable or anxious, obviously. I am not really sure how these evaluations work  or how they are put together but in both I found them to reflect me in a more accurate way then on the opposing side. For example, I identified as more good than bad, and more calm than anxious. This test can be useful for people who are trying to have a better understanding of who they are and how they can receive help or honestly anything. Employers would also appreciate these to understand the person they are about to employ into their business as well.

What would I do?

The video from the ABC news program “What would you do,” definitely caught my attention as being a discriminatory video. The social experiment placed 3 different people in the same situation of stealing the bike. The three people were the average American man, a Mexican man and an American woman; all three people received very different reactions from the public when they saw what these 3 people were doing. The American people definitely got less of a reaction than the Mexican man and the American woman got the least of the reactions than both of the men, the woman was actually offered help even when she made it clear that she was up to no good and that she indeed was stealing the bike.

In this case, the right thing to do no matter who the person was would be to call the police and notify them that someone is stealing a bike. I think that I would have seen that this was happening and would want to help but I would be too scared to call the police or talk to the person that is trying to steal the bike, I’d be scared because I know that person is dangerous and that he/she knows how to do bad things and I didn’t want to get caught in it.

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance theory is when there is inconsistent thoughts and beliefs in one’s head, if there is an uneven balance something has to change to eliminate the dissonance. For example in the video, the people that were given 20 dollars to lie and say that the test was not boring had enough compensation with the money they got so they did not need to change to eliminate any dissonance. On the other hand, the people that were only given 1 dollar to lie and say that the test was not boring felt that they were not given enough money and thus they did have to change something to eliminate the dissonance. What they ended up changing was how they perceived the test, they made themselves believe that it really was not all that boring so the dollar that they received did not seem so bad after all.

After learning that cognitive dissonance is, I do believe that this is both a positive and negative thing that people do to maintain homeostasis in their brain. Positive in the aspect that, if someone was in a situation where something might hurt their feelings then compensation might be the rout to go. Negative in the aspect in that if someone were to get very used to the idea of cognitive dissonance then they might start to be okay with less which is a bad thing.

In my life I experienced cognitive dissonance when one of my friends needed me to talk to her parents and lie to them about something. Though I knew that was bad I somehow did it anyways that there was cognitive dissonance at its finest. Though I knew that lying was bad, I did it anyways.

IAT Tests

The IAT tests were definitely both interesting tests to take, the ones that I took were the self-esteem one and the sexuality. IAT stands for Implicit Association Tests, these tests are there to see what biases a person might have that they are not fully aware of. The process of taking them through a sample of questions and then through the matching/sorting game was a bit confusing at first but then once I got the hang of it I was able to go faster and process the data with better accuracy. For my first result I did not get good enough data to get results because I had not master the sorting game but when I took it again I was able to get results that I needed to complete the IAT Test. For the sexuality test I was able to get results on the first time that I took the test! I wanted to take the sexuality test because I have many friends that are homosexual and I wanted to know what my brain felt about it rather than what I was already thinking. When I received my results I was a bit hesitant to see what they were because I was scared of the unknown and learning something that I did not already know about myself. When I say them, I was not completely surprised but there were some things that I did not know about myself and there were some things that I already knew about myself so those did not come as a surprise.

These tests could be useful for employers to test their potential employees to see if they have any biases that they are unaware of so that when the employees are given the job they can be made aware of what those biases are and can make sure that they keep those biases in check when they are working and dealing with other people.

All in all, I thought that the IAT tests were interesting and unique tests to become aware of things that I already didn’t know of, I would defiantly like to take more of them in the future to become more aware of myself.