Test to find our hidden racist ideas
Study exposes subtle racial bias
TEST to find our hidden racist ideasTHERE may be no cure for racism, but one psychology research team believes it has devised a foolproof test to detect it.
Project Implicity, designed by a team of business psychology researchers at London Metropolitan University, is a web-based test programme designed to sniff out racism, even if it is hidden from the subject themselves.
According to study director Nigel Marlow, a principal lecturer in psychology at the university, people can have subtle, implicit attitudes and beliefs about racism, which would never be highlighted by conventional workplace questions such as, ‘Are you a racist?’
He said: “The Implicit Attitude Theory is the idea that we hold certain beliefs we aren’t willing to share with others or do not even know we have.
“When implicit attitudes are applied, often unwittingly, they can become stereotypical attitudes; a belief that members of some groups have certain negative and positive attributes, often not based on fact or truth.
“We are trying to bring these implicit attitude out by setting up a stimulus – face, words, anything – and measuring how long it takes for people to make associations with it.”
Adapted from the Implicit Association Test (IAT) technology, first trailed at Harvard University, the test asks people to link strings of words and sort pictures into categories.
The programme then automatically calculates a response index, based on speed and accuracy, which indicates a level of racial bias.
Mr Marlow believes public service organisations and multinational companies, which are often accused of institutionalised racism, could benefit from the test.
But he is quick to dismiss accusations that the programme is a selection tool or personality test.
“I see it as more of a self-help tool,” he said.
“We’ve all got biases – either through experience or media exposure. Why not make ourselves aware of the baggage we’re carrying around with us?”
Mr Marlow is inviting people to help develop the programme, which is currently at a pilot stage, by visiting the website www.researchsite.co.uk and completing the test.
All responses are anonymous and the data is used for test-validation purposes only.
Tree lInks St Augustine’s and local hotel
A BLOSSOMING relationship has begun between a large hotel chain and a small West Hampstead secondary school.
The Marriott Hotel in Maida Vale has planted a tree in the grounds of nearby St Augustine’s CE High School, in Kilburn Road, as part of its efforts to give something back to the local community.
The hotel hopes to establish a close partnership with the school from this point onwards.