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Test Yourself: A Survey Tool for Gauging Bias

Complete Series: Beyond Bias

This yearlong series will examine efforts to recognize and overcome discrimination in schools. View the complete series.

How can you find a bias you don’t consciously know you have? And can such a bias really affect your behavior?

The Implicit Association Test, developed more than a decade ago by University of Washington social psychologist Anthony Greenwald, uses a person’s reaction times to measure how closely two concepts are linked in the person’s mind. A participant quickly matches pairs of pictures or words—for example, the words “scientist” and “nurse” with male and female names, or “high-achieving” with black and white faces. Over thousands of trials, teams of researchers have found people take longer to match items that run counter to their own mental bias.

A recent meta-analysis of more than 100 studies found the Implicit Association Test can predict interracial discriminatory behavior better than personal reports of conscious racist beliefs.

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Interested in finding out how you would score on an Implicit Association Test? Try this short online test adapted for Education Week readers by Jordan Axt, a postgraduate researcher at the University of Virginia’s Implicit Social Cognition Laboratory. If you agree to participate, your confidential answers will also serve as data for Project Implicit, an ongoing, international research project aimed at gauging levels of racial bias.

Related: Schools Deemed 'Discriminatory' Struggle to Erase Disparities

Intro text by: Sarah D. Sparks | Test text by: Jordan Axt

Vol. 35, Issue 04, Page 12

Published in Print: September 16, 2015, as Test Yourself: A Survey Tool for Gauging Bias
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