The Bias Beneath The Two Decades of Measuring Implicit Associations

Implicit Association Test (IAT) is used to test an individual’s attitude and belief about a certain topic such as gender, weight, religion, race e.t.c. Attitude is simply the willingness of an individual to accept/ report certain things to be in their life. Attitude may sometimes reveal itself unconsciously without the individual noticing or any clue. For many years IAT has been used as an examination tool by employers during employee recruitment to determine an unconscious and automatic way of thinking about certain societal topics (Sleek, 2018). IAT uses specific pictures and words, displays them onscreen, and requests the user pick them as they appear by keying specific letters on the keyboard. The test requires the participants to pick the items as fast as they can. Time taken to make a choice is recorded and shed light on individual attitude and belief about the topic (Sleek, 2018). IAT measures the association between concepts like thin or fat people and words like good or bad that describe their evaluations. Choosing good words like beautiful, friendship, and love to describe thin people indicates that you strongly think bodyweight matters. This attitude may have resulted from ones body weight, interaction with people of this kind, or just the upbringing. Bodyweight should not be a tool to judge people since it is difficult to control how thin or fat one can be. Different risk factors cause obesity. These factors include diet, lifestyle genetics. Consuming high fatty foods without exercise results in obesity. Some people become obese simply because of their genetics, and there is no association related to what they consume.

Using IAT to measure the willingness of self-reporting and behavior has been proven to have many drawbacks. Firstly, IAT answers are influenced by the word used during the test. To better do the test, an individual first needs to familiarize themselves with common words used in that area and failure to do so results in choosing the wrong things. Secondly, the test is dependent on the participant (Meissner et al., 2019). If the participant is tired or thinking somewhere will give results that do not reflect on the person’s behavior. Thirdly, IAT mainly focuses on a measure of association between concepts instead of beliefs (Meissner et al., 2019). Fourthly, this test measures peoples likings rather than wantings. Improvement has to be done on this test to give accurate individual behavior, attitude, and beliefs.

When I first took the test while doing this assignment, I wasn’t happy with the results. The results say I have a strong liking for thin people over fat people. Retaking the test based on the same topic produced different results, saying I slightly prefer thin people to fat people. As a nurse, this can mean the end of my career if I was in a job interview that requires the applicant to take the test. I care and help a patient in the hospital, meaning I’m never allowed to be biased. American Nurse Code of ethics is four, namely justice, non-maleficent, beneficence and autonomy. According to this code of ethics which I took an oath requires that I perform my duties regardless and never be biased on giving my services to patients regardless of their race, skin color, weight, religion (Gaines, 2021). This test should not be used to access nurses’ beliefs, attitudes or behavior about serious topics like racism, disability, e.tc; since its validity is questionable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Gaines, K. (2021).What is the Nursing Code of Ethics?. Nurse.org. Retrieved 30 September 2021, from https://nurse.org/education/nursing-code-of-ethics/.

Meissner, F., Grigutsch, L., Koranyi, N., Mller, F., & Rothermund, K. (2019). Predicting Behavior With Implicit Measures: Disillusioning Findings, Reasonable Explanations, and Sophisticated Solutions.Frontiers In Psychology,10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02483

Sleek, S. (2018).The Bias Beneath: Two Decades of Measuring Implicit Associations. Association for Psychological Science – APS. Retrieved 30 September 2021, from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/the-bias-beneath-two-decades-of-measuring-implicit-associations.

 

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