Friday, December 14, 2007

Human or Alien?

To find out, now you too can take the latest Implicit Association Test (IAT)!

Human or Alien?

Mixing Memory has posted a hilarious summary of a satirical IAT paper, I See Dead People (Taking the Implicit Association Test). The paper bemoans the shocking decline in participants available to take the IAT. After describing the results of Study 1, the IAT in unborn babies,
...Bones and Johnson found another untapped population to study with the IAT: dead people. They point out that the work of people like M. Night Shyamalan has called into question the validity of people's self-report about whether they're alive or dead. An implicit measure of life or death is therefore important for both methodological and practical reasons.
For a good laugh, read the rest of the summary and the original paper by "Bones & Johnson" 2007.


Bones, A.K., & Johnson, N.R. (2007). Measuring the immeasurable: Or "Could Abraham Lincoln Take the Implicit Association Test?" Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2(4), 406-411.

With the Association for Psychological Science's new ethical standards requiring that all research studies include an Implicit Association Test (IAT), forecasters predict that the population of new participants available to take IATs will expire by the year 2023. Shrill, doomsday proposals from IAT experts involve rationing the precious pool of remaining IAT novices or other naive strategies. These solutions demonstrate rigid, scientific thinking, with a distinct lack of the creative flair that makes psychology stand apart from the real sciences. Building on our prior experience of adapting the IAT for measuring infant cognition and rooting out aliens among us, we demonstrate that new pools of participant resources—the unborn and passed on—are available, if we take the time to develop the methods to exploit them. Two studies illustrate some of the methodological challenges and opportunities that must be met in order to make better use of the new populations to keep the IAT juggernaut on its path of global (and interstellar) domination.

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