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Harvard University’s Implicit Association Test

Explicit attitudesare beliefs that are directly expressed or publicly stated. Implicit attitudes, on the other hand, are beliefs that occur without conscious awareness. It is not uncommon for an individual’s explicit and implicit attitudes to differ.

To study the implicit attitudes people may have, behavioral scientists at Harvard University developed an assessment called the Implicit Association Test(IAT) that aims to measure unconscious prejudices. This is because many testing methods, such as asking survey participants to report their own prejudices and biases, can only measure their explicit attitudes.

For this assignment, you will take at least 2 Implicit Association Tests and reflect on your experience of taking the tests. Please note that there are several tests to choose from. You may take any two tests you wish. There is no need to prepare before taking a test because there are no right or wrong answers.

To get started, follow the link below and first review the information pertaining to the purpose of the IAT and the testing methods it employs:

You do not need to discuss your specific score, category, or anything about your individual results if you are not comfortable doing so, but please note which two tests you took.

After taking two IATs, you will write a reflection essay of 4–5 pages in length. Remember to include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion, as well as citing sources used within your paper using in-text citations and a Reference page. In accordance with APA formatting requirements, your paper should include a Title and Reference page, should be double-spaced, and should include a running head and page numbers.

Make sure you utilize at least 2 credible sources to support the arguments presented in the paper.

Your essay should address all of the following prompts. Any opinions or points of view should be supported with examples and references.

  • Explain the difference between ‘explicit biases’ and ‘implicit biases’. Analyze whether biases function at the conscious or subconscious level. 
  • Describe the purpose of the Implicit Association Tests and how the tests measure implicit biases. Be sure to discuss examples of categories and tasks given on the tests. 
  • Discuss your general thoughts regarding the tests you took and your reaction to the experience.   
  • Provide your (supported) opinion on whether you think the IAT produces valid and reliable results. In other words, discuss whether the IAT accurately measures what it is intended to measure (is it valid?), and whether it is consistent in measuring what is intended to be measured (is it reliable?). Refer to Unit 2 materials in Chapter 10 to review the concepts of validity and reliability related to research data.  
  • Explain the differences between prejudice and discrimination. Do you think prejudices, to some degree, are inevitable? Why or why not?   
  • If implicit attitudes are subconscious, how do you think negative implicit attitudes toward social categories can be reduced? 


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