Who’s your (stereo)type?

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As we continue our exploration of stereotype, and of race, gender and class bias and insensitivity, I have for you a couple of online surveys that are designed to reveal our attitudes and mindsets with regards to stereotypes, stereotyping, and ‘in’ and ‘out’ groups.

A set of easy-to-take tests at Harvard, part of its Project Implicit, will help us do this. I’d like each of us to take at least two of these Project Implicit tests, and choose any two other than “Weapons” or “Presidents.” Each test takes approximately five minutes.

I also want each student to take two of the surveys at UnderstandingPrejudice.org. You are going to really like these, I think. After you’ve taken the

four tests (two at each website), comment to this post about what you learned, if anything.

  • Were you made aware of anything useful?
  • Surprising?
  • Did the surveys change your thinking in any way?

Share your experiences with these surveys here, and do so before noon Wednesday, March 12.

I look forward to reading your findings and reactions.

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15 Responses to Who’s your (stereo)type?

  1. Jayme says:

    I was surprised how some of the tests said that I associated certain groups (race, gender, etc.) with certain characteristics, especially when my results were opposite of the average results. I realized that I make judgments about people (good or bad) far more than I thought did. The surveys changed my thinking by making me more conscious of judgments I make of others.

  2. Michael E says:

    After taking a few of these surveys, I was really surprised at the results. I was surprised about how wrong they were. They suggested I harbor deep, judgmental attitudes towards stereotypes that are quite frankly untrue. I tried a variety of tests to test my feelings, whether they ranged from judgmental to neutral to accepting. Every test, regardless of my feelings, returned the result that I was strongly judgmental. Perhaps I could be persuaded to believe otherwise, but on my experience of these types of tests, I am not persuaded by their validity.

  3. Gabby Guevara says:

    After taking the four surveys, I was shocked at some of my results; especially the ones from Project Implicit. I think that they did not accurately measure how I truly felt about certain topics because it was all a quick game of mix and match. The surveys seemed like they merely play tricks on your mind to get you to think a certain way, when in actuality, I am trying to finish the survey as quickly as possible without messing up. The surveys did not really change my way of thinking because I did not believe that they truly revealed my feelings.

  4. Rebecca Frantz says:

    I think these tests are effective in revealing the way our society views and categorizes people based on what we see instead of who they are. My results on these tests did not surprise me, but only because I have taken many similar tests like this in my previous psychology classes. I think they are useful in showing us how we subconsciously associate different traits that we see in people with different stereotypes, and how classifying people based on appearances is something that we all do. We are constantly bombarded with messages in the media that help to reinforce these stereotypes. Although I think these tests and surveys are beneficial to help people learn how dangerous stereotyping can be, I do not think that they always reveal someone’s true attitudes.

  5. Katie Farmer says:

    After taking these surveys, I was not completely surprised by some of my results. I agree with some of the other comments in that I am not too confident in the methodology of these surveys. There is a concept in social psychology that basically says that we tend to gravitate towards those people that are similar to us. Therefore, I am not sure whether some of these tests are measuring “stereotypes” or are simply reflecting this principle? Or perhaps both concepts are at work here? This assignment made me aware of just how intertwined stereotypes are into our lives and how difficult they can be to tease apart from our basic behavior.

  6. Ciara Stephens says:

    After taking the surveys, I was not surprised by my results. I think the only thing that is shocking is that I like to believe that I’m always neutral and do not fall prey to stereotypes, but these surveys show that when it comes to certain topics, I do group people with certain associations. I think the results from these surveys makes me more aware of how what I think does not always line up with how I act. In the future, I will try to be more aware of the judgments I’m making and work to not base them off of stereotypes.

  7. alexbrizzi says:

    I was not extremely surprised with my results. I fell under a more neutral category, which I agree with because that is how I see myself. I try my best not to stereotype, but it was hard with how some of the surveys were worded to be completely fair to all parties involved. Growing up in a world that is trying to break free of prejudices is difficult because you are taught one thing and must learn another and realize that all people are human beings, not the labels that we give them.

  8. Liz Bradford says:

    I was not extremely surprised by my neutral results but I personally feel as though I am a bit more judgmental then the test perceived. But I know my judgements are typically more towards females- how they dress, hair make-up material things- not necessarily race. Although I am somewhat judgmental I do try to always give people chances and don’t make decisions based off one meeting or interaction. We are all human beings and all deserve to be treated with respect, and not given labels to define us.

  9. heyahlauren says:

    I wasn’t surprised by the results of the survey to a point, but it made the results seem more drastic. The way the surveys were conducted made it seem as though they were intentionally trying to trick you. I was more focused on the time and getting them right, than anything. As soon as I got one idea down in my head it would change the survey layout and I would always miss the first few. While I may unintentionally group different types of people with certain associations, it’s not in all cases. If anything this survey showed me that how I think and how I think, I think – may not always be the same. Stereotypes will always be apart of our lives but it’s up to us on how we handle these situations.

  10. rowarrick says:

    I was not surprised by the results of these surveys. At the same, I found the tests on Implicit Association revealing, in that they got me thinking about how my mind might unconsciously react in certain ways upon meeting new people. I think that’s important to be aware of these initial, detrimental tendencies, though for the most part I don’t think they have as strong an influence in the long-term. My view of another person is more formed by what they say and how they behave.

  11. Jake Emche says:

    I was surprised with the survey results. I expected there would be a stronger connection between males and working/females and family life then what the survey displayed. I guess as society evolves this has caused my own thinking to evolve as well. I was also surprised that I cared greater for old people, even though i ranked youth higher than the elderly at the beginning of the survey. Younger people seem to bring me happiness but I assume my close relationship with my grandparents shows that I may receive more happiness from the elderly. I learned some things about myself that I would have not thought were true until I took the survey.

  12. Louie Spivak says:

    Overall, I did not find myself particularly surprised by the results of the surveys or the IATs. My score’s remained largely in the middle across the board. Despite the thought process behind these association tests, I am not sure that I trust the results. My brain went into overload processing through the different options, especially when taken late at night. Although I did not find the results particularly useful, it did open an avenue of thought I had not explored. I do wonder now how frequently I make stereotype associations.

  13. Vickie Tallent says:

    These surveys were totally inaccurate to me, and it left me perplexed as to why the results were as stated. I never was a fan of these type surveys.

  14. Rick R says:

    After taking the surveys, I must admit that I am a little surprise by my results. I like to think of my self as someone who embodies humanistic attitudes of equality and fairness, and who accepts all as they come. My results illustrated otherwise, though. This leads me to believe that these surveys are inaccurate. Although they claim to measure our unconscious preferences and biases toward certain groups of people, I don’t believe the method they employ is suitable for making sure measurements. For example, the race survey found in at the Illicit Project website, expects us to identify terms that elicit both negative and positive feelings with the concepts “good” or “bad”, that were also under the European or African American category. I believe there were too many variables in this study that might have had an affect on my results. I was more focused on matching perceived negative words with the bad concept and perceived positive words with the good concept, and paid little attention to the fact that the good and bad concepts were in either the European or African American category. It just seemed all too confusing for me, to be honest. Nonetheless, I am glad I took the surveys, as my intent was to really learn something new about my self, and to be able to apply this knowledge in my everyday life.

  15. annakate shepherd says:

    After taking these surveys I was not surprised with my results, which suggested I have a neutral outlook in regards to stereotyping. However, some of the questions regarding animal rights did stump me. I am in no way and animal lover, and meat is a part of pretty much every meal I eat. The surveys were asking questions that made me feel as if I would purposely do harm to an animal for no reason, which I would never do. I do believe though that animals are meant to be eaten, they do not have a soul or feelings in my opinion. I admit to being biased based simply on the fact that I have never owned a pet and therefore do not understand the emotional attachment people have with their pets. Several of the surveys asked specific questions about dates of wars, and conditions having to do with the holocaust, which made me realize I do not have the basic knowledge that I probably should in regards to many topics in our history.

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