Inside the wood-paneled confines of the Harvard Club, about 200 Bostonians gathered recently to tap into their subconscious. Literally. Audience members were told to move as quickly as possible through a series of faces and words projected on a screen, tapping their left knees for a young face or a "good" word (joy, sunshine, love), and their right knees for an old face or a "bad" word (bomb, agony, vomit). It took about 15 seconds for most to finish. But when asked to switch, to pair young faces with "bad" words and old faces with "good" words, the rhythm faltered and the tapping slowed. Audience members shook their heads and giggled. Some threw up their hands.
You can test yourself here.
I wasn't surprised to learn that I have a moderate preference for young people over old; slight preferences for straight over gay, and for Judaism over other religions.
More surprisingly, I had "little or no automatic preference for African American relative to White American". (I would have expected some latent pro-white prejudice, but I'm certainly happy to be wrong about that!)
Strangest of all, I seem to hold "a moderate association between science and Female relative to Male". Maybe because I associate myself (as a male) with liberal arts? Or maybe the tests are just unreliable...
Good fun though, anyway. Leave a comment and let me know what your automatic prejudices are!