An new implicit association test: on policy

The test is a new use of the implicit association techniques, and I think it may raise questions that the others (at least those I’ve taken) do not.  It would be great if some of our readers take it and share their reactions.

The question of policy is really about whether you think having a free market is better than having government  regulations.  The method is like that on the European-African faces test; that is, it involves associating  words for  good and bad things with each and measuring respective times.  (The test for women and science is different, by the way.)

The thing that struck me is that it seems possible to believe firmly in government regulations in a way that guides  one’s actions and votes and yet have negative associations with the words used to characterize the regulation side.  In fact, after the last 8 years in the States, it might seem natural to have bad associations with the term “government,”  and I’d be surprised if many people think positively when presented with the word “bureaucrat.’

Or a different example:  one might have bad associations with “government regulation” and yet vastly prefer a society which has enough of them to secure medical care, education and a decent infrastructure for all its citizens. 

Perhaps this is just to say that the link between thinking better of whites and being quicker  to associate good words with them is much tighter than the link between thinking government intervention is absolutely necessary for a modern society and being quicker to associate good terms with words for regulations, etc.

It is in fact very possible that the designers of the test are asking themselves just the sort of question I am raising, because they appear to want to see how scores on the test fit with conscious attitudes on a  wide range of things.

So do think of taking the test and letting us know what you think. 

A nice discussion of the test and IAT tests in general is here.  And the policy test  itself is here.

At the bottom of the first link is a series of links to discussions about the IAT, which you might find interesting.