Wednesday News: Project Implicit, the Hugos are finally over, Australian Romance Readers Survey, and “Judgey” book cover game
Project Implicit – All of the discussion around the Wine Train incident made me wonder how many people have taken the Harvard Implicit Association Test. It measures that unconscious bias that all of us have about any number of people, ideas, behaviors, etc. One of the things that makes the Wine Train incident so difficult to discuss is that very often, when people react to other’s behavior, we believe that we are not influenced by race, gender, etc. But even the most progressive, conscientious people have undiscovered biases, and these biases are powerful precisely because they are hidden. The IAT has been around a long time, and the results can be very useful in mirroring those hidden perceptions back to us.
People don’t always say what’s on their minds. One reason is that they are unwilling. For example, someone might report smoking a pack of cigarettes per day because they are embarrassed to admit that they smoke two. Another reason is that they are unable. A smoker might truly believe that she smokes a pack a day, or might not keep track at all. The difference between being unwilling and unable is the difference between purposely hiding something from someone and unknowingly hiding something from yourself.
The Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. The IAT may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about. For example, you may believe that women and men should be equally associated with science, but your automatic associations could show that you (like many others) associate men with science more than you associate women with science.–Harvard University
The Final Lessons From This Year’s Hugo Awards Clusterfrak – A pretty good rundown on all the Monday morning quarterbacking that’s gone on re. the Hugo Awards in the era of the Puppy slates. I found this take from Abigail Nussbaum particularly persuasive:
The fantastic critic (and one-time io9 contributor) Abigail Nussbaum—who would have gotten a nomination for Best Fan Writer if not for the slates—has posted her own thoughts about this year’s Hugo results. Nussbaum says that if the Puppies had represented “real” fandom, “then ‘real’ fandom would have turned up to vote for the nominees they put on the ballot.” She adds:
The truth is—and this is something that we’ve all lost sight of this year—no matter how much the puppies like to pretend otherwise, the Hugo is not a progressive, literary, elitist award. It’s a sentimental, middle-of-the-road, populist one. I rarely like the shortlists it throws up, and am often frustrated by the excellent work that it ignores. In fact, looking at this year’s would-have-been nominees, I see some work that I loved—Aliette de Bodard’s “The Breath of War,” Carmen Maria Machado in the Campbell Award category—but on the whole it feels like a very safe, unexciting ballot that I would probably have complained about quite a bit if it had actually come to pass.–i09
Australian Romance Readers Survey 2015 -If you live in Australia and read Romance, you have until September 30th to fill out the Australian Romance Reader’s Survey, sponsored by the Australian Romance Readers Association. You can find the link below:
It is time once again for our annual Australian Romance Readers Survey. We started the survey in 2009 so that we could collect statistics that are about Australian romance readers. This is the sixth year that we have run the survey, with the questions refined slightly each year in light of feedback from survey respondents.
If you would like to be involved, just click on this link and follow the prompts: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6WDVN3M–Australian Romance Readers Association
Judgey – The premise of this little game is simple. You rate a bunch of random covers, and your score is measured against the Goodreads score. Based on how well you did, the game judges you. Fun and surprisingly addictive. –Judgey
The Judgey didn’t offer anything that looked like romances based on the cover. Do I have a narrow interpretation of what a romance novel should look like, or are they not displaying any (based on my admittedly small sample)?
I really appreciate the follow up items you’ve included in the news posts, after the one that included the Wine Train incident. I thought of commenting on the first but I am tired of having to explain such things over and over and over. It’s not a great attitude, I know. I’m just tired.
Geez, the methodology of that Implicit thing is terrible! Each experiment tells you the response it expects before you select it. And on the three I tried, the stereotype round came first (male-science vs female-arts, male-career vs female-home, white-good v black-bad) which means you’re brain picks up the repetitive task that way round and makes more mistakes when it’s switched (I was hoping they were randomised, but after the third test I lost too much hope to keep trying – do tell me if I was wrong!). Finally, there doesn’t appear to be a result that allows for you to have the same association for both categories (for example, I definitely did better at both male-science and female-science, and flubbed arts more often on each).
I think it’s really important to do research like that, and to make people face their prejudices, but those tests appear to actively reinforce those prejudices.
@MinaKellt: Here’s a good introduction to Project Implicit. While not uncontroversial, it has been subjected to a lot of scrutiny since its 1998 debut: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/blog/implicit-test
@RebeccaA: It’s definitely not a romance-based game.
The Judgey thing said I was the judgeyest. I just thought the covers were awful, and the books looked awful.
@Des Livres: Don’t feel bad, I’m the judgeyest too. Even though I knew certain books would have high GR ratings, I just can’t stand a lot of current cover trends.
Is the Goodreads score for the cover or the book? ‘Cause most of the covers I saw sucked. Add me to the Judgeyest list.