... ahhh, the horrors of public libraries and coffee shops impelled this computer dunce to figure out how to a make a special exception for that site's cookies. At last, I received the pleasure of a microscope going up the butt of my implicit prejudices.
Sort of like a colonoscopy!
"Thank you for completing the study!
Thank you for your participation. In this study, we are investigating how people's attitudes towards age and gender influence their perceptions of behavior. We are particularly interested in whether participants who have automatic, implicit attitudes associating warm personality characteristics with certain groups evaluate a member of that group differently when they act in a way which violates that expectation. We are expecting that overall, females and older people will be judged more harshly than males and young people.
Our measure of implicit attitudes is the Implicit Association Test (IAT). The main idea of the IAT is that people who have more positive implicit attitudes toward a concept (e.g., older people, females) will be able to categorize the items more quickly when that concept and warm traits are categorized with the same key as compared to when that concept and cold traits are categorized with the same key. Surprisingly, these associations are sometimes very different than our conscious attitudes and beliefs. One purpose of our research is to figure out why that happens. Your results for the IAT are reported below.
*Your data suggest a strong association between the elderly and personal warmth.*
If your score was described as 'inconclusive,' then your performance was not within the range to provide an interpretable result. Most inconclusive results are due to a high number of errors.
Depending on the magnitude of your result, your automatic associations may be described as 'slight', 'moderate', 'strong', or 'little to no preference'. How implicit associations affect our judgments and behaviors is not well understood and may be influenced by a number of variables. As such, the score should serve as an opportunity for self-reflection, not as a definitive assessment of your implicit thoughts or feelings. This and future research will clarify the way in which implicit thinking and feelings affects our perception, judgment, and action.
Thank you again for your participation!"
In the test they shot my way, they put me through my paces with a speed test (oh hells! not a speed test) to identify whether a word or visage signified warm or cold, or old or young, respectively. Don't know how I rated speed-wise but I did finish that part "fast enough for their taste" with zero errors. [cue applause]
Then the story scenario. A person named Chris has been harassing hir fellow employees. Ignoring their input, threatening to tattle on them for trivial offenses, insulting them and whatnot. Not one but many employees have complained about this, so it looks like Chris is the problem, not them.
I was tested to see if I could guess Chris' age and gender. Thinking to myself, "Hmmm, stereotypically speaking, women are known to have subtler ways to harass others. Insults, threats, and dismissals are commonly considered to be male tactics in most cases. So, I guessed that Chris was a guy. I also guessed that he was old because the story said he was close to retirement. Yay me: Both guesses were correct!
I was then asked several questions about what my impression about Chris was so far. How intelligent, how likable, how popular, etc.
I said "slightly unintelligent" because he's been clever enough to get away with this behavior for some time, but not clever enough to forever escape my (the human resources manager's) wrath! I assessed that he was quite mean, unlikeable, unpopular, etc.
However, I only "slightly disliked him" because I figured he might be helped with counseling and/or meds. I do know all too well what it's like to have something comparable to an out-of-body experience where you feel like you're watching yourself act like an asshole, and you can't believe you're doing it. In that sense, I potentially sympathized with Chris. Needed to know more details about the situation to make a better assessment.
Well, suspension was recommended as his penalty for the latest complaint (which had come a link or two up the command chain to get to me). I was presented with a range of one day to over two weeks of suspension -- I assumed without pay.
I judged that Chris needed a substantial wake-up call, so I suspended him for seven days. (And I didn't get to add this on the test, but my words to Chris would have been courteous but stern: "Dude, you have a problem. Get some help for it. I'm suspending you for seven days because you need to know that I mean business. If I catch you acting like that again, you can expect a much worse suspension or even more likely, termination before you can retire. You need help, man. See that you get it!")
And with that, I got the test's appraisal that I tend to perceive old folks as warm folks.
At first I didn't think that tracked because the Mormon church is run by old men (the General Authorities) and I see those guys as cold, cold characters. But then it occurred to me that I used to believe in the church and the General Authorities as well. Throughout my years as a youth, I was merely awed by their calm gentle demeanor as they spoke in the Salt Lake Tabernacle at General Conference.
Furthermore, the old people I met first in my life were my grandparents, and all four of them were quite warm towards me (especially Grandma on my dad's side). I think first impressions really have an impact on us when it comes to the impressions we receive at our earliest ages. That stuff sticks to us for life.
And I had an old aunt (great aunt?) who lived across the street. I used to cross the street and visit her for hours at a crack. She was warm and friendly as could be and we had a great rapport. Aunt Esthma (sp?) was her name.
And to cement it all, I married a woman twice my age when I was 21. That woman always carried herself with grace, warmth, and courtesy. So as she aged, my childhood impressions of senior citizens were confirmed, even though I lost all faith in those dubious General Authorities.
And that's my theory of why the test concluded I have an ingrained tendency to trust older people.
Interesting test. Would like to take more but tick tick tick, that clock just won't stop.