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Are you a racist? Most people would deny they have prejudices, but best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell's book, Blink, discusses a fascinating test that actually uncovers a person's hidden biases.

The Implicit Association Test (IAT), developed by professors from Harvard, the University of Virginia and the University of Washington, measures the two levels that all people operate within—the conscious and the unconscious. Malcolm says the conscious level includes "the decisions we make deliberately and things that we're aware of. I chose to wear these clothes. I choose the books I read."

The unconscious level can tell you more about a person's true feelings. "There's another level below the surface which is the kind of stuff that comes out, tumbles out before we have a chance to think about it. Our snap decisions. Our first impressions," Malcolm says. "One of the big ideas in psychology recently has been that level, that second level, is really important in how we behave. How we think and how we feel [are] really important in things like prejudice and discrimination."

What the test has shown, Malcolm says, is that people are not shaping those unconscious feelings themselves. "[They] are a function of the kind of world we live in and the society that we move in," he says.
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FROM: Left for Dead: The Gay Man Who Befriended His Attacker
Published on January 01, 2006

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