Thursday, January 13, 2005


The other night I was on my way home from a screening of the movie Closer. I was listening to NPR and they were interviewing this guy who wrote a book about how people make snap judgements. I consider myself to be someone who does that and I was interested to hear that there's a test you can take that will tell you what your snap judgements are on various and sundry topics.

It's called the IAT - Implicit Association Test and you can participate in research that a group at Harvard is doing. Well, of course I wanted to participate so I signed up and I've done the test a few times. It's a great way to kill 10 mindless minutes - they don't want you to think while you're taking the test, better to assess your snap judgements. But for all the judgment that I believe I'm throwing down as I walk through the world so far I'm someone who has little or no preference to one thing over another.

Now it doesn't bother me that this is true of silly things like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, Artists or Musicians, Plastic Surgery or Wrinkles, Intelligent or Athletic, but I also have little or no automatic preference for friends or family. I guess that could be considered a good thing. I'm as happy with my friends as I am with my family. I don't care if I give or receive - both make me happy. However, I apparently have no automatic preference for Non-Profits over Corporations - and if you asked me I would have a very strong snap judgment about say, Wal-mart or the Red Cross. According to this test however, when I'm not thinking, I have no preference at all. Which is just so weird because you think you know yourself.

I do have a moderate preference for West Coast over East Coast, but you know I've only ever lived on the west coast so that makes sense. But it seems that I'm not someone who has strong automatic preferences, even when I think I do! How weird is that?

So maybe I liked Closer better than I think I did.

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