My Biases

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"My Biases"

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I remember having been very interested in the Implicit Association Test I took a few years ago on racial bias, but then kind of forgot about the whole thing for a while. Eve Fairbanks mentioned taking one on gender in a blog post, so I thought I’d check it out. But en route to discovering what kind of a sexist I am, I was waylaid by a test that examines your biases about the presidential candidates.

I took it and discovered the results you see at left. This is a question of relative bias. They explain that “a committed Republican might have negative associations with all of these candidates, but in this display, the ones that are least negative would appear toward the top and the ones that are most negative would appear toward the bottom.” All four candidates cluster in the middle third of the spectrum, so I don’t have any really extreme implicit associations with the candidates, but as we can see there’s a distinct pro-Obama leaning.

That jibes with what I learned about myself the night of the Iowa caucuses. Thinking and writing about it beforehand, I’d definitely found Obama to be a praiseworthy figure but never really committed myself super-strongly in his favor, and in the couple of weeks leading up to the caucus felt increasingly persuaded by arguments made on John Edwards’ behalf. But when it was announced the he won I was thrilled even though my official view continues to be that the differences between the candidates in the field are non-enormous.

Meanwhile, demographically speaking I’m in Obama’s wheelhouse — young, male, college educated — and I had pre-existing pro-Obama views on the issues. I’d be interested to see what kind of results you can from people whose views are more at odds with their demographics.

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