Writing Assignment 2: Implicit Associations Test (Black/White)
Note: Please structure the paper as follows: 1) your paragraph answer, 2) your paragraph answer, etc.
The purpose of this assignment is to augment the class lecture on unconscious prejudice. It does so by exposing you not only to the logic behind the concepts of implicit associations and unconscious prejudice but achieves as much by also giving you an opportunity to see the kinds of research designs typically used in this area.
Since you will become a participant in the research process yourself, the assignment will push you to think about your own prejudices and how they relate to the larger social structures in which we are embedded. Remember, sociologists are always interested in the intersection of biography, social structure, and history. Your results should be viewed in this light, rather than read as a ‘personal’ failing or success.
The assignment involves two parts.
(1) First, you will complete the Implicit Associations Test. At the end of the assignment you will see a screen showing you’ve completed the test (it will also show your ‘result’). Take a screen shot of this or use the print function to turn the page into a PDF. In other words, somehow obtain a digital copy. Include this digital copy with your assignment. You can create a combined PDF (e.g., your paper + the image you’ve captured), or you can make two separate uploads in Canvas. The writing portion of the assignment is discussed below in point no. 2.
-Take the test:
Go to: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/
Continue “as a guest” and select the appropriate language/nation combination.
You will be directed to a ‘preliminary information’ page. Please read the information carefully.
After doing so, click on the ‘I wish to proceed’ link.
Then click on the ‘Race IAT’ (Black-White IAT).
On the next page click ‘Click Here to Begin’ and proceed with the test.
You should then click ‘Continue’…and carefully read the directions provided.
Then click ‘I am ready to begin.’
Once you have completed the assignment, a page will appear showing your results.
You will then need to create a digital copy of the results. You can do a search online if you don’t know how to do this, but I recommend using a screen shot or turning the page into a PDF (often by going to Print Page, but then saving as a PDF). You will upload this digital copy in Canvas along with your paper. You may create a single file (your IAT result combined with your writing assignment) or you may upload two separate files. Doesn’t matter to me.
(2) You are to write at least 700 words (but no more than 800) [note: heading and paper titles do not count towards your 700 words], answering the following questions:
1. How did you feel about taking the test (before and after)? Why? How did you feel while taking the test? Why?
2. Did you notice any difference in speed when associations changed from socially intuitive to counterintuitive pairings? Why? [Note: What do mean by ‘socially intuitive’ vs. counterintuitive? Here I am referencing our previous discussion in which I mentioned that researchers have found individuals tend to associate more positive evaluations with more powerful groups in society. Negative evaluations are more likely to be assigned to relatively less powerful groups. Given our nation’s history, the socially intuitive pairing would be the pairing of ‘white’ with more ‘positive evaluations’ and ‘black’ with more ‘negative evaluations’. Subsequently, the counterintuitive pairing would be just the opposite—‘black’ with ‘positive evaluations’ and ‘white’ with ‘negative.’]
3. Thinking sociologically and drawing on course discussions specifically tied to implicit bias/unconscious racial prejudice, explain (this implies going into detail with specific examples) why you scored “preference for white, black, or neither”. To be crystal clear, you will draw on Lecture 10 (the one focusing on implicit bias) to answer this question. You need to think sociologically about how your environment (for instance: upbringing, neighborhood, school, friends, local culture, media consumption, etc.) may have played a role in shaping you, your implicit perceptions, and the subsequent score you received. Again, your answer should be sociologically informed, and should clearly reference relevant course material.
4. What do you think about the legitimacy of the test and the concepts of implicit association and unconscious prejudice?
5. Finally, let’s connect this course material to the ‘real world.’ Thinking specifically about a career you would like to pursue, how might the course material you recently learned about (and used in this assignment) be relevant to that career? In other words, how will this new knowledge help you in your future career or how may it be relevant to your career? [Note: (1) You may not know your career path right now. That’s ok. Think of something. (2) With respect to how this new knowledge will help you in your future career (or be relevant), any answer that says anything remotely like, “It won’t help me or be relevant” or “I don’t know” will be give NO credit. I’m asking you to make a good faith attempt at connecting the dots between course material and career.]
When answering these questions, you should incorporate specific concepts and terminology from the course lecture on the IAT, implicit association, and unconscious prejudice. Use your lecture notes and any relevant assigned texts as a reference.
IMPORTANT Details (Ignore at your own risk):
-NO late papers will be accepted without my prior approval.
-Type your paper. Do not email me papers. Papers emailed to me will not be graded. Upload papers using Canvas.
-You will not directly quote material from your text or my lectures in the paper when defining and describing course concepts and ideas. Rather, I’d like you to put things in your own words. The purpose of doing so is to demonstrate you understand the material (and to get you to better understand it). To be clear, avoid using direct quotations in a short assignment like this.
-Use complete sentences. I will not grade assignments written in ‘bullet-style’ or ‘outline’ format (e.g., relying on short phrases or sentence fragments). Papers written as such will receive a ‘0’.
-Write in 12pt. Times New Roman Font. Use single spacing.
-You DO NOT need to include a “References” or “Bibliography” page. I know you will be drawing on my lectures and course readings, and I will assume that your summaries of concepts come from those. There is no need to use sources outside those assigned in the syllabus in these brief writing assignments.
-Write your name, date, and course number (single spaced) at the top of the paper.
For example: Matt Ward
-Your paper should be free from grammatical and spelling errors. If you struggle with such matters, please make an appointment with the writing center on campus: http://www.usm.edu/writing-center. There are a number of professionals that can assist you.
Papers with excessive errors in writing mechanics will b