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March 04, 2013


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Michelle Meyer

Hi Tamara. Readers might also be interested in this WSJ review of Blind Spot by Daniel Levitin, which raises some important cautions and challenges for those who would rush to implement IAT research into law or policy just yet: (Also, your link is bad; it should go here:

Tamara Piety

Thanks Michelle for catching that! Will fix. And I agree caution is warranted. I think the full post at the Situationist notes that. But it is even better to supplement with the Levitin piece. Thanks!

Brando Simeo Starkey

You're far too kind. That WSJ "book review" was a hit piece.

For instance, the author writes, "When author Malcolm Gladwell took the IAT, it showed that he, the son of a black woman, is racist against blacks."

The IAT does not determine whether someone is racist. The author seemingly does not even understand the research he's knocking.

He also writes, "It turns out that the authors themselves published one in 2009, reviewing 184 independent samples and nearly 15,000 experimental subjects. The result: The IAT was very weakly correlated with other measures, failing to account for more than 93% of the data."

What does this even mean? What "other measures"? What "data"? Here is a summary of a work that Banaji and Greenwald published in 2009 which may be the article to which he is referencing: The summary does not back up any of his assertions.

Tamara Piety

@Brando well if I was "far too kind" it was because I haven't read all of this research, certainly not the link you offer, and so I guess "cautious" was the word I would use. It did strike me that the Gladwell example was particularly problematic for the reasons I discuss above and you point out another aspect of that. In the meantime, thanks for the cite to the meta-study. I hope that more people who know more about this topic than I will continue to weigh in.

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