Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Psychological "Priming" Turns Out To Be Bullshit

I never really believed this crap...but I am generally ill-disposed toward such stuff...and so I guessed that there was a good chance I was being irrational. Here's a description of a study that I'd not heard
of before:
“In an experiment that became an instant classic, the psychologist John Bargh and his collaborators asked students at New York University—most aged eighteen to twenty-two—to assemble four-word sentences from a set of five words (for example, “finds he it yellow instantly”). For one group of students, half the scrambled sentences contained words associated with the elderly, such as Florida, forgetful, bald, gray, or wrinkle. When they had completed that task, the young participants were sent out to do another experiment in an office down the hall. That short walk was what the experiment was about. The researchers unobtrusively measured the time it took people to get from one end of the corridor to the other.”
Nooooo. No. No way. Just no. Who the hell believed that? Honestly...there's just no way that's true. It's not as absurd as the "thinking like a blonde" study...but it's pretty bad. The thinking like a blonde study was the one that basically made me turn the corner on such things and just start dismissing the really dumb sounding ones out of hand. I can't find a link now...but it was briefly famous ten-or-so years ago. Apparently they gave some dudes pictures of equally-attractive blonds and brunettes, and allegedly discovered that men got lower scores on IQ tests after they looked at the pictures of blondes. They "hypothesized" (if you want to dignify it by characterizing it that way) that men began "thinking like blondes" (or: thinking as blondes are reputed to think...i.e. dumbly) after viewing the pictures. I remember thinking, basically: That's about enough cognitive psychology for me. F*ck this BS...
   The PC left that runs the APA (the philosophy one, not the psychology one) is still trying to push "implicit bias" long after it's become even clearer that it's BS. A belief in implicit bias allows them to continue to attribute some kind of prejudice to men and other un-PC groups--even those who don't seem to be prejudiced--and to continue to push stronger affirmative action measures. So they are not going to give that up easily, evidence be damned.

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