Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Implicit Bias.

Are human beings inherently judgmental? Of course, you'll respond. Yet how can you prove that? Social scientists at Harvard University have developed a system to test whether or not an individual is implicitly biased against a given group or concept. Check the site out and see for yourself.

This leads me to our topic du jour -- Does our increasingly politically correct way of life mask society's problems? Imagine a prejudiced person (if you don't know one, look in the mirror... we're all prejudiced), is it really a good idea for that person to mask their true beliefs for the sake of sparing another's feelings? Or is it better to openly express your feelings and address them in public?


Blogger mindful said...

That's interesting... it says I have a strong preference for liberals compared to conservatives. I wouldn't have guessed that. I wonder how they analyze the data?

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Indeed, we have biases and I would like to think that I voice most of my inner thoughts to family and coworkers, however, I definitely refrain from overtly insulting someone. Maybe this is a good defense mechanism as I am sure that I often misjudge people. Good post!

6:53 PM  
Blogger Lily said...

Good questions. I don't think I can give a blanket yes or no answer to your last 2 questions, it really depends on the circumstances.

However, I think political correctness has been stretched to the limits of absurdity. We are all going to cause offence or be offended countless times in our life. Perhaps as a society we just need to suck it up and walk it off.

I wonder if PC overkill is more a Northern American societal issue.

6:58 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

I'm with Lily here. The circumstances change my bias. Sometimes I play devil's advocate which throws me in another category entirely. But, I go out of my way to not hurt people but I will if it's neccessary. It's like trying to tell someone that their child needs mental help. You can either say, "Get him on some meds!" or "Is Jimmy doing alright? He seems to be..." Candy coating is important at times.

As for bias in general, I know I have mine. But I also try to be reasonable and think things out instead of reacting. I felt it today. I went to the store and before I got out of the car was an 18 year-old boy waiting for me. He said he gets paid on Friday but he and his mother don't have enough gas to get back to Henderson. I still think it's bad that a "mother" would send her son to ask people for money but at the same time, I should have asked to meet his mother to identify the problem and went from there. I still think that it was for alcohol but that's where my $1.18 went.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

I've always been of the opinion that creating conflict can most times solve conflict. I know that sounds crazy, but I very rarely mask my true feelings. Get it out in the open, deal with it, and move one. Everyone then knows where they stand.

So, looking at your questions, I do sometimes give in and make the other person smile. For instance, a friend of mine recently lost a loved one who caused her much pain and grief. Was I about to trash the dead person? No way. I remembered him fondly for her sake and let it go.

Other than those draconian circumstances, I usually let 'er rip.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Camphor said...

As a general rule, don't hide your feelings. Specific cases might demand it.
I always liked coffee, hated tea. Apparently I implicitly have a modetrate preference for coffee over tea!
I couldn't understand it!

8:16 AM  
Blogger Danilo da Silva said...

nice question... are we all judgmental? we have to be, I think, its a matter of survival its so many people, so many experiences... We have to be biased in the sense of making generalizations.

A stupid example, we meet some people that like to wear the same type of clothes, we like 'em we group them and we tend to like more other people wearing the same clothes. Of course, like any rule, ours will be flawed but it saves us a lot of time in social interaction (for good or worse thats how we are).

Being p.c. thats something that in the US has turned into a way of life. However, I think p.c. way of lfie with moderation is good. Our tendency to be prejudice will be proven right or wrong once we know the person, everyone needs their chance.

So, speaking our minds can come too soon, offend people with our bias and ruin knowing different people.

Did I make sense??? Sorry, a bit long, but a complicated issue. Peace!

11:22 PM  
Blogger Bar Bar A said...

Very interesting site you linked, I just took a test over there and it was about how I felt about artists compared to musicians...said I had a strong preference to musicians (true). Not sure what that has to do with your post but that's all I got for now.

11:28 PM  

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