The causes and consequences of stereotyping

The goal with these online exercises is to explore our own 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 You are going to love these, I think. (I did!). After you’ve taken the four tests (two at each website), comment to this post about what you learned, if anything. Did you learn or were you made aware of anything useful? Surprising? Did the surveys change your thinking in any way? (I found out that I’m a “benevolent sexist,” for example, which I’m still processing but have to agree with to some degree.) Share your experiences with these surveys here, and do so before midnight Sunday, Feb. 27. I look forward to reading your responses.

20 Responses to The causes and consequences of stereotyping

  1. Allison Erdman says:

    I took surveys on a Fat-Thin Test, a Young-Old Test, Race and Advertising, and Gender. I feel like I did not learn as much from the Fat-Thin and Young-Old Tests as I did with the Race and Advertising/Gender ones. I did learn that I associate being young and thin with being happy and positive. I learned very little from the Gender test other then that I am a “hostile sexist” who has negative feelings toward women. I do not think this is completely true other then I am not exactly a huge feminist. I learned the most from the Race and Advertising Survey. I think that is unethical and considered discrimination when a certain race is asked for or preferred (which is against the law) when looking for a job or housing. While I do consider that discrimination, I feel that in personal ads, such as those on dating websites, it is okay to cite the preferred race of the person you are seeking. I believe personal relationships are based on emotions and who you are attracted to. Since these are much more “personal,” I would not see citing a preferred race as discrimination. I don’t think these surveys changed my thinking in any way, I’m still trying to figure out why I am a “hostile sexist.” I did enjoy these surveys and found them to be very thought-provoking on issues that may otherwise be considered touchy or taboo.

  2. Jordan Ferrell says:

    I took surveys on a Young-Old test and Race, Black vs White. I didn’t feel like the Young and old test made any difference because I was just confused and got frustrated as it went along, but for the Race test I actually felt myself learning and being more involved and I wanted to try my best, even if I made a “mistake” that I thought was a mistake, but really wasn’t. The result was what I supposed from the beginning. However; I didn’t state that in the pre-test part. I said that I slightly preferred blacks over whites although I did it to see what the outcome would be, because I thought based on the other test that I would recognize black faces better. But my results were comforting when at the end of the test it said “Your data suggest little to no automatic preference between African American and European American” Amazing I thought. I was in the 17% of people who took that test and got in that category. So I think it’s easy to say that you don’t prefer one over the other, but I was honest and my true motives came out in the test…so I thought that it was pretty cool.

  3. Parker Sealy says:

    I took the surveys on Young-Old, Fat-Thin, Race, and Gender. To be honest, while I did agree with my results, I didn’t really understand how this truly represented how I am. I got little to no preference for all of the surveys with he exception of the race one where I got: slightly automatic preference for European Americans. I didn’t understand how this worked because I am unable, as it seemed at least, to make quick enough judgements to go back and forth. Maybe it had something to do with which ones I recognized better but I generally recognized all of them. Maybe it is just because I don’t really have a preference. If I “slightly prefer” European Americans to African Americans, it is simply because that is who I was raised around but even then, I never felt like I preferred one race to another. I guess that is why they call it a slight preference. Either way, I feel that I have always been neutral when it comes to any of these categories except maybe the gender one because I would have no problem dealing with the family aspects while my husband dealt with the career aspect. That’s not to say I don’t want a career but I am not such a feminist that I can’t accept that I may just be a housewife (if that makes sense…) I don’t feel that these surveys changed my mind or anything because I could have guessed my results for the most part. I know I can stereotype but in these situations, I tend to avoid it because I want everything to be equal, as unrealistic as that may be in this society.

  4. Bethany McDaniel says:

    On the first website I took the Native American versus white American survey where I ranked along with 5% of the other survey takers in having a strong associate for White Americans with foriegn and Native Americans with American. Basically, I scored that I strongly lean towards associateing Native Americans with being more American than white Americans. Then I took the one about males doing more in science and females doing more in the liberal arts. I scored the same with most of the majority (26%) in strong association of male with Science and female with liberal arts.
    Then on the second site, I took the Native American IQ quiz. I scored a 5 out of 10. The majority of people get a 3 or 4. The second one I did was comparing African Americans to European Americans (whites). I scored slightly automatic preference for African Americans compared to European Americans. 6% of other people scored this too. 48% get a strong preference for white.
    I agree with all these scores but I kind of made myself get them. I wanted these results, so I made it so I got them. So, maybe I didn’t do this right. I mean, no one wants to be seen a a bigoting racist or whatever.
    I didn’t really like the way it scored us. Especially the black vs. white one. You start out doing white = good and black = bad (which you do two times), so then you have your mind set on if it’s good or white, I need to click “e.” And then it switches it, but I already have it engrained in my head white or good = e. So it’s like they want you to get it wrong when they switch it. I had to consciously work to make sure I didn’t click the wrong one. Maybe that’s what they want, I don’t know. I probably didn’t do any of these right…

  5. Naing Oo says:

    First test I took was the ambivalent sexism. I received that result as benevolent sexist and I wasn’t very hostile as the result stated my score. I believe the test score is true because I can see myself being a gentleman towards the ladies but I never saw the fact the opening the door or pulling the seat for a lady would be view as sexism. That was what surprised me from this particular test.
    Second test is the IAT Asian American test. It was a very interesting test for me to see how I my data suggest little or no association between European American and Asian American with American and Foreign. Of course there are many differences between each and everyone of us. However, for me I treat everyone the same and respect them for how they want to be respected.
    I do not really understand the third test about young and old IAT test. In my opinion I prefer to be with the old then the young. Also, the way I was raised is to respect and treat elders first in any cases.
    The fourth test, which I completely blew it because of my lack of knowledge during the 1800s of American culture and they way slavery worked. So, I answer for the slavery questions with very low numbers and it shocked me to see how many each president had at first. Then, I can kind of understood because of they probably had large plantations and such.

  6. Jamie Carelson says:

    I took the Fat and Thin test along with the Black and White test. For the Fat and Thin test, I came out with a strong preference for thin people over overweight people. Sadly, this didn’t surprise me. I think our culture has done a really good job at uplifting the thin and in shape individual. It is common and popular belief that skinny women and built men are more attactive. It is sad to think that I also fall into this subconscious state of thinking and take a preference to thin people also. I found my results surprising for the Black and White test. I didn’t think that I would strongly prefer white over black, but that is the result that I got. That really surprised me because I went to high school with a lot of African Americans and was friends with a lot of them. I didn’t think that I would get such a strong response to that quiz. I also took the gender sexist survey and that also surprised me. It said that I was 2.82 on both the hostile sexist and the benevolent. I don’t think I fully understood the scoring system, but I didn’t think I would be so low. I also took the gender survey and found my results surprising there as well. It said I moderadely associated men to career and women to family, and I really thought I would strong associate men to career and women to family because that is what I see for my own life. I found the results very interesting and the surveys intriguing!

  7. Sarah Littlefield says:

    On the first website I took the Asian American and European American test to distinguish the two. My result indicated that I have a strong association of European American with American and Asian American with Foreign compared to Asian American with American and European American with Foreign. So, from the test, I consider Asian people in general to not be American, which I didn’t realize I did. I somewhat knew that when I see someone that isn’t white or black, I sometimes just group them in my head as non-American, which isn’t right. Then I took the Old-Young test and my data suggested a moderate automatic preference for Young compared to Old. That makes sense, I don’t exactly feel anything toward old people. I’m pretty neutral about their presence.

    From the second website, I took the Gender Test and found out I’m a little bit of both a “hostile sexist” and a “benevolent sexist”, a little bit more of the first one though. I don’t necessarily agree with being a hostile sexist, because I don’t have negative feelings toward women. I don’t have an extreme amount of positive ones either. So, i’m not really sure how I fit in.
    On the second test, I took Hidden Bias test of black and white, and my results indicated that i have a moderate automatic preference for European American compared to African American. I usually think of myself as pretty equal and fair between black and white, so I don’t necessarily agree with that.

  8. For my first test I took the Gay-Straight IAT. Unsurprisingly I had a strong automatic preference for straights over gays. I find this to be spot on because all of my life I have dated women. This survey did not make me aware of anything particularly useful, but it did make me aware of the strong negative connotations that associate with gays.

    For the second test I took the Religions IAT. The order that I had the most positive associations with were Buddhism and Christianity followed by Islam and Judaism. This makes sense to me because I have typically positive thoughts on Buddhism and Christianity, but tend to associate less positive things with Islam and Judaism.

    All in all I learned that I may tend to make rash judgments on people based on race and religion. I am not sure how to change these deeply embedded associations that I have with particular races and religions.

  9. William Anthony says:

    I took the Gender and Science test, the Young and Old test, the Diet and Lifestyles test and the Race and Advertising test.

    As I took the test, the specificity of each test allowed me to think of myself and how I view different people and demographics. In the Gender and Science test, I was told that I have a slight association with men participating in mainly science courses and women participating in liberal arts courses. I have never categorized a class based on how many men and women were enrolled in that field. People choose to take a history or science class due to personal interest for that kind of education. Yet, I was told to have a slight association of viewing men taking mainly science courses.

    In the young and old test, I was told that I have strong automatic preference for young people versus old people. I actually enjoy being around either age group. There are old people that I enjoy socializing with throughout the day. Yet, there are people in my age group that I am very close to in my life. I do not view people based on age. I get to understand by talking with them and understanding their background or lifestyle preferences. Plus, every elderly person was once young. They can probably they tell what their teenage years were like. This is where the young features could come out in older age groups. To sum it up, I do not have a specific preference for either young adults or elders.

    During the race and advertising test, I learned that advertisements do have restrictions when they are being displayed for job opportunities. Everyone needs to have an equal job opportunity. Yet, there is still some racial problems even with laws prohibiting such an issue. These issues are more subtle. It is about personal preference. A boss can have an interview with anyone, but they choose who they think will be best for the job. This is where stereotyping or racism can be an issue with advertisement. People, from any race, need to be able to apply to the jobs that they have in mind without other employees or bosses changing their opportunities to become hired. We may have stereotypes in our personal views, but it will not get in you far in advertising or for a profession.

    The Diet and Lifestyles test was the most bizarre test that I took out of the four tests. I am used to being asked questions about what I think of specific races and age groups. The entire test was focused on animal cruelty and the meat industry. I personally do not think that it is wrong to eat meals like steak or hamburger, and I do not view people who choose not to eat meat any differently either. It is a personal preference based on what you enjoy eating or what you may know about the meat industry. The main controversy behind the meat industry is how painful like branding or castration may be upon animals like cows in order to package hamburger. I did think about what I eat and why I eat it.

  10. Calli Long says:

    The first test I took was the Sexuality test, which gave me very surprising reults. It said that I moderately prefer gay people over straight people, which I do not agree with for the mere fact that I have absolutely no preference between the two. I’m straight- but have several gay friends and have never made a distinction.
    The second test was the Weight test. It told me I have a slight preference towards thin people, which I honestly expected. I see things like KFC’s “double down” sandwich, Krispy Kreme Burgers, cupcakes the size of a chihuahua, etc. and it makes me 1)hate restaurants for making this kind of food available and 2)curious as to why people would do this to their bodies. Not that I’m a perfectly healthy eater all the time, but I know its things like this that have contributed to America’s problem with obesity.
    The third test was the gender/career association test, which said that I have a slight tendency to associate woman with family and men with careers. This was unexpected. Growing up it was just me and my mother, who always had to have a job to keep the house running. Because I was raised seeing her work so hard, it never occurred to me that a career and family couldn’t apply to both sexes evenly.
    The last test was the race test, where I was told that I had no preference between black or white people. I have never thought of myself as racist, so I strongly agree with this result.

  11. Nicole Pearre says:

    On the UnderstandingPrejudice website I took the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory. I found it interesting because my scores were not very high and both were pretty close to each other. There was only a .46 difference between the two. My Hostile Sexism score was 1.45 and my Benevolent Sexism score was 1.91. Basically I have minimal negative feelings toward women however, my feelings toward the “knight in shining armor” are not extremely high/positive. Maybe I am more neutral.
    The Second test I took was the Gender-Career IAT which revealed that I show a slight association of Male with Career and Female with Family compared to Female with Career and Male with Family. This was not a surprise to me. The media tends to help reinforce this way of thinking constantly via ads, television, and movies. Let us not forget that women are assumed to be more nurturing and better caregivers than men due to personality difference. This varies within each family depending on home life and who was the major caregiver as you were growing up. Maybe I only show a slight preference because up until the time I was 8 my dad took care of us after school while my mom was the one who worked.

    On the Implicit Associations test for the Harvard website I did the Gender-Science test. The result again didn’t surprise me too much. They show that I have a moderate association of Male with Science and Female with Liberal Arts compared to Female with Science and Male with Liberal Arts. It seems that in school systems males are more favored to be good at math and sciences than are females, thus causing genders to fit into the stereotype, even if it is a negative stereotype such as women are bad at science.
    The second test I took on the Harvard sight was the Abled-Disabled IAT. The results say that I have moderate automatic preference for Abled Persons compared to Disabled Persons. Its weird to think about because I don’t have a problem with disabled people. They are people just like you and I and they deserve the same respect anyone does. I don’t think badly of them. I guess the way we have been taught that there in today’s world its all about fitting in and trying to be perfect (even though none of us ever will be)it is hard for people to not think differently about disabled people. We are taught that there is something wrong with them and that they aren’t exactly like us so we stereotype all disabled people together, therefore a negative light tends to be shed on them all. Its hard to avoid this.

  12. Clay Henry says:

    On understanding prejudice website I scored a lot lower on the hostile sexism than I did the benevolent sexism. This doesn’t really surprise me due to the fact I was raised in household consisting of myself, my mother, sister and often my grandmother. Hostile sexism wouldn’t have lasted long. I personally think that chivalry and sexism should be mutually exclusive, but I can see how the association could be made.
    The second test I took was the implicit association test about gender and career. It indicated that I had a slight disposition to associating males with career and females with family. I think this is fairly accurate, probably in no small part due to reinforced stereotypes. I personally don’t like to think that my role will be just the career oriented male in a relationship. I would certainly like to play an equal role in family and I would accept the same out of my spouse.
    On the Harvard website I took the religion and the gender science tests. I was very happy with my religion test as it had all religions fairly close to the positive association. They were all equal with the exception of Christianity which had a slight lead over the other three. I personally am not religious but I really admire and like to study different religions.
    The last test was the gender science test and it indicated I had little to no associations based on gender and science or liberal arts. This seemed accurate and it struck me as odd that the association with males and science was so high. Personally I hate doing most things science related, as do many of my male friends. Most of the animal science majors I know at Berry are female, so is one of my best friends who is majoring in molecular biology.

  13. Rachael Wheeler says:

    On the first website, I took the Gender-Science IAT which revealed that I associate males with science and females with liberal arts. This surprised me a bit due to the fact that I’m very supportive of women being science-oriented instead of the traditional gender stereotype of being trapped in the humanities. The second test I took on this site was the Religions IAT. This one surprised me as well with the results reporting that I largely prefer Judaism over Christianity, then Hinduism, then Islam. I identify with Christianity but hardly know anything about Judaism, and I am very supportive and interested in Islam.

    On the Understanding Prejudice website, I took the Native IQ test and received a 3 out of 10. I was expecting a slightly higher score on this based on the high level of own Native American ancestry and my family’s history, but obviously I really don’t know nearly as much as I should. The second test I took on this site was the IAT for Black and White racial preference. The results revealed that I have a strong automatic preference for European American compared to African American. While I do not consider myself to be prejudiced against African Americans in any way, this did not surprise me based on the type of culture I was raised in while I was growing up. While I have grown to be very racially neutral, I suppose there is still some subconscious bias towards my own race.

  14. Melissa Moore says:

    For the Harvard site, I took the weight IAT (moderately more preference for thin people) and religion IAT (All religions centred around the centre of the scale), and I also took the benevolent sexism test (>1 for hostile sexism and >2 for benevolent sexism) and the race and advertising interview (where I indicated that race preferences should not be listed in housing and job interviews, but should not be regulated in personal advertisements.

    My weight IAT was the most surprising of the tests, and I felt that my results may have been skewed to the fact that I wasn’t used to the test formatting. Still, it’s fascinating to see in test form the way in which our prejudices effect even the most basic decision making choices– and even when we consider ourselves to be above/beyond such prejudices. My religion test was also someone surprising, as Christianity (the religion I profess) was slightly more negative in association than the other religions. I was happy to see, however, that my associations for all religions were centred around what I believe to be true about my prejudices (that is to say, I feel like I work hard to be sure to not have these prejudices towards religious groups).

    My sexism tests weren’t that surprising either– I don’t hold chivalry or hostile thoughts towards women in very high regard at all. Still, it was thought provoking to see how my results compared to other people, with my scores being lower on the whole in comparison to other people.

  15. Angela, Jung says:

    I took tests about age,weight,race and gender.
    My results were that I prefer young people,thin people,european people, and male to old people, fat people, african people and female. Expecially, it was very hard to match career with female. I thought that I don’t have prejudice that male are well matched with career than female. And also, it was hard to match old people with good words. My finger’s movement was faster when I matched young people with good words.
    Through this tests, I realized I have a lot of prejudices about gender,age,weight and race. I think I ha these prejudices unconsciously. All results said that I have a very strong prejudice about themes, and I did not want to accept this results. Because I believed that I was moderately unprejudiced person.

  16. Laura Briggs says:

    On the first website, I took the Gender-Career test and the Young/old vs. good/bad test. My results for the first test was that I associated career with men and associated family with women. I was totally expecting these results, because I grew up in a home in which my dad was the primary source of income. My mom worked as well, but it did not bring in as much income as my dad’s job. So these results were not a surprise! My results for the second test was that I preferred younger people to older people. I did not know what the expect for my answers, because I generally prefer to spend time with people who are older than me, but not usually older than 50 years old.

    For the second website, I took the sexism test, and racism test. For the sexism test, I received a higher score on hostile sexism than my score with benevolent sexism. I was very surprised by my results initially, but figured out why I got those scores. While I love for boys to be gentlemen and treat me like a lady, I love for guys to feel no pressure around me, and am not a huge fan of the whole feminist movement. The second test results said that I slightly prefer whites over blacks. I was very surprised by this result, but I think that many people are unaware of their natural racism, no matter how much they try or believe otherwise. These tests were so interesting and really made me think.

  17. Kyle Sussenbach says:

    I took the Gender Sexism, Religion, Black and White, and the Gender Tests. I was surprised most by the Religion Test. I am a Christian, yet all four religions were almost exactly the same. Judaism was actually the highest and Buddhism the lowest. I assumed Christianity would be the highest with maybe Judaism next.

    I was most ashamed by the Black and White test. I believe that i have very little prejudice besides the cultural stereotypes that may or may not be true, with friends of many races, yet I scored a “moderate automatic preference for white over black.” If i learned anything from these tests perhaps it was an unconscious leaning towards white people. I hope that this isn’t the case and do not put a huge amount of emphasis on the test. This certainly contrasts my religious and philosophical views so it was slightly troubling.

    I did notice after taking several tests i started to know what was going to happen and how my results would be interpreted by what I did. I think this affected me and my responses as i began to try to get certain results.

  18. Katie Lochridge says:

    I took the tests on Fat-Thin comparison, Old-Young comparison, Gender as it relates to career and family, and Ambivalent Sexism. Most of the results of my tests mirrored the results I expected to get from the tests. One thing that shocked me, however, was the result of my Fat-Thin test. My results stated that I “had a slight preference to fat people over thin people”, which is something that I wasn’t expecting in the least. Although I carry no ill feelings toward “fat” people, I have always preferred “thin” people. Most of my closest friends are on the thinner side and most of the boys I had “crushes” on growing up were also thin. I believe that my preference toward thin people has been fueled by both the culture I grew up in and my own life experiences. When I think back on my childhood, I remember that I was about 10 years old when I realized that I was a little bigger than most of the other kids in my class. Since then, my weight and how others perceive me has been something with which I constantly struggled. The culture that I have grown up in has screamed in my face time after time, “THIN IS BEAUTIFUL!” All the models in magazines, the actresses and singers in movies and on TV, are almost always toothpick-sized. To be considered beautiful in our society means that you are tall, blonde, and a size 0. Luckily, as I have grown older, I have learned to see myself as beautiful, despite my lack of all these traits. However, statistics show that I am not the only person affected by this thin-preference culture. Around 10-15% of all Americans have some sort of serious eating disorder, 86% of those began seeing symptoms while they were under the age of 20. Our culture is literally killing us. Some brands, however, have put forth an effort to lower these numbers. Dove has a fairly new advertisement campaign called Campaign for Real Beauty, which features ads with women of all shapes, shades, and sizes.I believe that this is a trend that needs to catch on quickly. I realize that I have gone off on a bit of a tangent, but I believe it helps to explain my personal preference to thin people and the surprise of my test results.

  19. Nathan Sutton says:

    I took the Young-Old and the Thin-Fat tests from the first site and found that I prefer young and thin people respectively. I suppose that I’m not actually surprised by this at all. I’ve never really been one to enjoy hearing an old person rambling about something that happened 50 years ago; nevertheless, I will listen if need be and will respect what they say, but that doesn’t mean that I enjoy it! I suppose that the Thin-Fat test shows that either 1) the stereotype of “perfection” is true or 2) I’m another victim of all the skinny advertising and what not.

    On, I learned that my I have a rather high rating for both hostile and benevolent sexism — slightly confusing. I feel like I equated certain questions to specific scenarios rather than just thinking generally; thus, it resulted in a high rating on both. The last test I took was the Gender IAT. I evidently associate career and men, I can understand that. Yet again, it’s just the stereotype playing through. Just like the pictures we looked at in class, if you say “business,” then I instantly think of some guy in a suit and tie.

  20. Brenna Conley says:

    On the first website, I took the old-young and able-disabled tests. After viewing the results, I’m beginning to wonder if my brain works so hard to correct the stereotypes of what is good and bad by the mass standard that I have overcompensated? I went into the tests with an “I dare you” attitude– that is, I feel that I have no preference towards young people over old or abled over disabled, and I dared the tests to prove otherwise. However, I didn’t expect my results to prove that I preferred old to young, and disabled to abled. I’m not sure what this is the result of unless, as I said before, my brain is actively fighting stereotypes and succeeding.

    On the second website, I first took the survey examining sexism and found that I have a moderate rating for hostile sexism and an almost nonexistent presence of benevolent sexism. I guess this makes sense when taking into account what my recent observations of women- (I am feeling somewhat cynical.) I’ve heard so many girls recently talk about getting their way by manipulating men, or “I always get what I want” sort of attitudes, and am bothered by this sort of attitude, which probably explains the presence of “negative opinions” towards women. On the other hand, as much as I understand the upbringing that results in a man treating a woman with extreme protection and chivalry, I don’t necessarily believe in what it stands for and therefore don’t subscribe to these sexist stereotypes. I believe that a man should open a door for another man as soon as he would open the door for a woman. I believe that a woman should be protected in the same situations that one should think to protect a man. That’s not to say that I don’t see biological differences. I just think we live in a society that is safe enough (not a society where survival is dependent upon these differences) that equal treatment should be attainable.
    When I took the race survey, my results showed that I had a moderate preference for African Americans. I’m not going to argue with that, although I never necessarily thought it was a preference before. I definitely don’t find white/european faces more attractive than african american faces, and sometime find african american faces much more beautiful.

    im not sure if this blog assignment was canceled or delayed, but no one else’s comments are showing up yet. so this may have just been for fun. but it was definitely an interesting examination of myself!

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