Sunday, December 23, 2007

Whaddya Think?

Unconscious associations make for an interesting sociological study. If you want to check on yours, using a series of tests, have a look here.

I feel the need to point out that video gamers will probably have a harder time with these than folks who are more analog -- punching keys to type is not quite the same as punching keys on a video game, and part of the process is that as soon as you get used to the "e"key for one result and the "i" key for the opposite, the tests switch them.

Video gamers seem to lock in what the buttons on a keyboard or controller do much faster than us old guys who learned how to shoot with a rifle and not a first-person-shooter video game. If you swap the buttons once you get them, that is apt to screw things up more for a gamer than a non-gamer.

That said, there are a series of tests in the demo section about race, sex, body type, and common sociology that might surprise you. I did but two of them, and found that I have no particular connection between weapons and white people, or weapons and black people, but that I have a slight preference for skinny people over obese ones.

Neither of these were earth-shaking surprises to me. (And I found it interesting which two tests I picked to take -- might be another study in that ...)


Kai Jones said...

I took one of the tests, and I think my result was mostly influenced by the fact that they picked the "e" key for one of the answers. Since I type for a living and "e" is more frequent in English than "i," I type "e" much more quickly and easily than "i."

Steve Perry said...

In an ideal setting, there would be some way to handle the controls issue. Hooked up to an EEG in the lab or under a PET scan, they can almost read your mind, but working on your home computer, it's one of the things they can't fully compensate for, in my view. I know people who have trouble telling left from right which is how I played it --

Black, this side, white that. Then switched, and didn't think about what the identity of the key was, just kept my finger hovering in position.

I understand why they change sides, to try and keep people from anticipating the response and making it an exercise in speed rather than choice. If I had to guess, based on my experience, I'd guess most of the errors get made immediately after you have to swap controls. You know the answer, but push the wrong key because you've gotten used to it standing for the other choice.

You aren't confused over whether a hand grenade is dangerous compared to a Coke can, but which button to push. That's part of the reason to switch, too, to try and get an instant response.

I think that's why there are follow-up questions at the end, to offset the mechanical errors.

Still, there are people who show such a distinct preference that the results, even if skewed a bit, are telling.

If you miss a couple, no big deal. If you are at the top or bottom of the scores, something else is probably going on.

Todd Erven said...

I took one as well; it was an interesting test.

I guess that I'd be considered a "gamer" or at least I would have been up until a couple years ago. Because of that, I tend to pick up controls pretty fast and get better rather quickly. I found that I actually kept getting better the more they switched the keys simply because I was playing the "game" for longer.

I imagine that if I took a number of tests, the results would become more accurate as the learning curve topped out a bit.