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Psychology's Racism Tool Not Measuring Up

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by mfairma, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. mfairma

    mfairma Senior Member

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    http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/01/psychologys-racism-measuring-tool-isnt-up-to-the-job.html

    I thought this article might be of interest to some. It's long, and I haven't read it all yet. It's about a web associations test that supposedly measures our implicit bias for and against various issues.

    I remember taking it in college and thinking even then, when I had respect for psychology, that it probably was not a useful measure of anything.

    One quote toward the beginning made me chuckle, which is partly why I'm sharing:

    ". . . the IAT falls far short of the quality-control standards normally expected of psychological instruments . . . The history of the test suggests it was released to the public and excitedly publicized long before it had been fully validated in the rigorous, careful way normally demanded by the field of psychology."

    Oh, yes, those rigorous standards . . .
     
  2. TiredSam

    TiredSam The wise nematode hibernates

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    ahmo, Barry53, Esther12 and 2 others like this.
  3. mfairma

    mfairma Senior Member

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    So, I finally got a chance to read through this article. It's very long, but has a ton of parallels to this disease, so I thought I would pull out some choice quotes and observations to make it more accessible, because I think it's fascinating. Given the length of what I pulled out, I'll do that in a few posts.

    The key similarities are that, in the implicit associations test (IAT), the psychologists created a test to measure a psychological construct that they assumed to exist; publicized it loudly and in bold terms as predictive of behavior, before bothering to figure out whether it measured what they wanted it to measure; that they, and other proponents of the test produced research riddled with methodological flaws to support it; that psychology and the public accepted these claims too readily due to the time lag required to debunk and because the message of the test advanced political agendas ; and then obfuscated on their past behavior and attempted to dismiss and marginalize their critics, rather than admitting fault. Sound familiar?

    Edit: I was going to post what I pulled out, but even that is probably just too long for most.
     
    ahmo, BurnA and TiredSam like this.

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