In 1998, the incoming freshman class at Yale University was shown a psychological test that claimed to reveal and measure unconscious racism. The implications were intensely personal. Even students who insisted they were egalitarian were found to have unconscious prejudices (or “implicit bias” in psychological lingo) that made them behave in small, but accumulatively significant, discriminatory ways. Mahzarin Banaji, one of the psychologists who designed the test and leader of the discussion with Yale’s freshmen, remembers the tumult it caused. “It was mayhem,” she wrote in a recent email to Quartz. “They were confused, they were irritated, they were thoughtful and challenged, and they formed groups to discuss it.”
Finally, psychologists had found a way to crack open people’s unconscious, racist minds. This apparently incredible insight has taken the test in question, the Implicit Association Test (IAT), from Yale’s freshmen to millions of people worldwide. Referencing the role of implicit bias in perpetuating the gender pay gap or racist police shootings is widely considered woke, while IAT-focused diversity training is now a litmus test for whether an organization is progressive.
This acclaimed and hugely influential test, though, has repeatedly fallen short of basic scientific standards.
Full article: https://qz.com/1144504/the-world-is-relying-on-a-flawed-psychological-test-to-fight-racism/