August 22, 2008

"Can't decide between Barack Obama and John McCain? Chances are your brain already has."

"Using a simple word association test to look inside voters' heads, Canadian and Italian researchers found that many voters who thought they were undecided had unconsciously made up their minds."

Do you think the person who sent me that link was trying to say something about me?

41 comments:

1jpb said...

Y

Mr. Nigel Southhead said...

I think the person who sent you that link is tied to your apron strings.

P.S. Do you wear aprons?

P.P.S. I found a beautiful jumper with an embroidered sash and lace applique. This darling garment positively screams Ann Althouse !

P.P.P.S. They're willing to do free monogramming !!

Richard said...

You may think you're undecided, Ann, but I know almost to a certainty who you'll support. I would bet a month's wages on it.

Maggie said...

Well, I did think of you when I saw that test.

Triangle Man said...

The web version of the test is here. My "implicit preference" was moderately strong for the candidate I am currently leaning away from supporting.

former law student said...

Good Glenn Greenwald column today, talking about the scorn conservative pundits have for men who live off their second wives' considerable wealth.

EnigmatiCore said...

So I was going along it with almost no mistakes (I am good at reaction video games, so that made sense).

Then right in the middle of the fourth grouping, someone came over to my desk to ask a work related question. And while talking to him, I proceeded to get many in a row wrong.

Now I have no idea if it was being insightful or if it was screwed up by that string of answers.

reader_iam said...

Do you think the person who sent me that link was trying to say something about me?

That the person in question knows what you're thinking before, or better, than you do?

Seven Machos said...

That was the stupidest fucking test ever. Sorry, but there's no other words that capture it.

I did not finish.

I have always questioned much psychology. This test is demonstrable evidence that it is largely useless.

Meade said...

Seven, I'm sensing some anger issues. Would you like to share your feelings?

Revenant said...

I have always questioned much psychology.

You are right to do so. Most of psychology is pesudoscience. Very little psychological research is conducted in a scientifically rigorous manner. The real science is done in other fields, like neurobiology or information theory.

Pastafarian said...

To state the obvious, it seems as though many conservative Althouse commenters think that you're "in the tank" for Obama, while most of the left-leaning commenters think that you're a stealth McCainiac.

Since you've already actually voted for Obama once, and you've stated that you're leaning toward Obama with a probability of voting for him at around 70%, I'll take you at your word.

Now, I can understand why you might vote for Obama, because you're a Democrat; you probably have quite a few policy positions in common with Obama. But look at the policy differences that you have: The Iraq war; the prosecution of the GWOT; supreme court nominations (Obama voted against Roberts' confirmation); these are some pretty important things.

You're a Democrat, but I don't think that today's Democrats represent the same things that they did when you decided that you were a Democrat. You haven't left the party, but they've left you (like they did Ronald Reagan, I believe). Today's Democrats don't think that a war that liberates millions, overthrowing a regime that stones and veils women and hangs homosexuals, is a good war.

So I invite you, Professor: Come over to the dark side. McCain is basically a Democrat anyway, for crying out loud. And don't give in to white liberal guilt, and vote for Obama because of the color of his skin, subconsciously. That would be just as wrong as someone voting for McCain because he's white, after all.

But maybe I'm preaching to the choir -- how did you do on the test?

Seven Machos said...

Only at the loss of my time, Meade. There's no way that test could in reality determine who you will vote for any better than a coin flip.

However, as I do like very small-time betting, I think there ought to be some wager involved with Althouse and her vote. I, too, believe I know whom she will vote for. I'm sure something fun could be ginned up, possibly involving an egg salad sandwich.

Methadras said...

I already know who you are voting for.

Revenant said...

Good Glenn Greenwald column today, talking about the scorn conservative pundits have for men who live off their second wives' considerable wealth.

I was skeptical that the article could possibly be good, as "Good Glenn Greenwald column" is essentially an oxymoron.

I was not surprised by what I read. Greenwald accurately points out that conservative pundits scoffed at Kerry's marriages to richer women, but the point he tries to hammer home -- that they ignore this in McCain -- misfires badly. The reason is obvious to anyone outside the leftie echo chamber: conservative pundits don't like John McCain either. They like his position on the war, yes. They like him better than the clueless race-mongering ninny the Democrats are running against him, obviously. But every single one of the pundits Greenwald quotes criticizing Kerry opposed McCain during the Republican primaries.

Balfegor said...

Only at the loss of my time, Meade. There's no way that test could in reality determine who you will vote for any better than a coin flip.

Well, I thought it was fun. It said I had no automatic preference between McCain or Obama -- not entirely surprising given that I don't particularly care for either -- but I know I'm voting for McCain anyway. I'll just flatter myself this means I come at my preference for McCain on an entirely objective basis, unaffected by prejudice. Haha.

lurker2209 said...

I just took the test and I won't argue with it when it says that I'm moderately likely to vote for McCain. But I'm still curious about their methodology. The first round I pushed the same key for positive words and Obama, and negative words and McCain, and the second round was reversed. So I did better in the second round than the first, but how much of that was due to an unconscious bias to McCain, and how much was me just getting better at thinking about two different things at once? For the sake of aggregate research, they can randomize the order, but that doesn't say much about an individual case.

reader_iam said...

I've participated in such things a number of times over the years, though not the the 2008 election section. The results have generally comported with what I expected. This time there was one "x"; generally I've ranged from "0" x's to "2," with "1" being most frequent. Usually I'm in the neutral, no marked preference, no marked bias, or whatever title fits with what's being measured (the point being is that I tend not to track strongly in a direction).

The results of this one were a little different than previous experiences: 1) I did come up as having a slight preference, 2) I was not expecting that, at this point in time, and 3) I was surprised at the result, just because it didn't quite match the self-assessment stuff I filled out at the beginning ... normally, the results and my self-assessment absolutely track.

FWIW.

Did anyone else take 'em up on the offer to continue to participate once a month going forward?

Original Mike said...

FWIW, they claimed I had a strong preference for the condidate I do expect to vote for.

Meade said...

And with my X-ray vision goggles, I can see your underpants.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Impartial observer said...

Do you think the person who sent me that link was trying to say something about me?

No. Because you long ago decided you were for McCain and have been lying about it ever since.

reader_iam said...

It's important to note that the outcome is NOT just a product of x's ... it's got to do with speed, consistency of reaction time, how quick you correct if you do get an "x," and etc., to put it a bit simplistically. I'm assuming (OK, perhaps I shouldn't, but I am, absent other info) that this accounts for why I've gotten straight neutrals in other cases where I've gotten more "x's," as opposed to this time. Not my area of expertise, so grain of salt and all of that.

reader_iam said...

Jeez. Always with the accusations of lying. Boring.

former law student said...

The IAT says I have no strong preference for either candidate. I must be (benignly) neutral then.

reader_iam said...

And with my X-ray vision goggles, I can see your underpants.

Liar! Not wearing any.

lurker2209 said...

On second thought, maybe the order thing doesn't matter. I took the Gender-Science thing and did better on the second task. And ended up being part of the 3% of participants that moderately associate women with science, but I'm a female chemist! Go figure!

Balfegor said...

On second thought, maybe the order thing doesn't matter. I took the Gender-Science thing and did better on the second task. And ended up being part of the 3% of participants that moderately associate women with science, but I'm a female chemist! Go figure!

I tried it with Asian-Americans vs. European-Americans, and came out that Asian-Americans are slightly more American than European-Americans. And maybe that's because I'm Asian-American. But more likely, it's because all their "Foreign" symbols were from countries like England and France -- White countries. I'm sure they wanted to avoid biasing the outcome by having a pictures of Beijing or Tokyo up there as their foreign images, but I'm not sure that worked quite right.

ricpic said...

As Euroweenie loving gnostics subconsciously snake toward Obama
Ammurican Eagle battalions prepare to squelch the psychodrama.

Peter V. Bella said...

former law student said...
Good Glenn Greenwald column today, talking about the scorn conservative pundits have for men who live off their second wives' considerable wealth.


Good column and Glen Greenwald are word associations that remind me of partisan hack, subjective, identity politics, and political muckraker. I included that due to the topic at hand.

As to the column, did you actually read it through? They were not talking about MEN, they were talking about one man; John Kerry. What is left out is that Kerry himself comes from a wealthy family and is a trust fund baby.

Oh, if you did some research you would find out how that hero of the whackos family made their immense wealth.

Pastor_Jeff said...

I have some background in stats and survey design. It's an interesting concept, but it seems obviously open to influence by all kinds of factors not related to what they're trying to measure.

And it was totally wrong in the result it gave me. The likelihood of my voting for Obama is an extremely small non-zero number, so the test was off by about 50 percentage points in predicting my vote. That's generally regarded as an unacceptably large margin of error.

rhhardin said...

The real science is done in other fields, like neurobiology or information theory.

p log p?

John Althouse Cohen said...

Do you think the person who sent me that link was trying to say something about me?

Yes, I was. ;-)

blake said...

Shocka!

JAC is revealed as the mystery sender!

Dun-dun-duuuuuuuuuuuun!

(I don't know. It just seemed like we needed some drama.)

Ben (The Tiger) said...

But of course...

Freeman Hunt said...

Obama was a fling. Your heart is with McCain.

vbspurs said...

Ann voted for Obama in the primary. Now, Obama is practically hours away from choosing Joe Biden of DELAWARE, Ann's home state.

And you're telling me she's in the tank for McCain...for what reason?

I guess if you don't rip apart anything Republican/Bush in its entirely, then somehow rabid Lefties think you're an extreme Right-winger. To quote Reader, "boring".

I don't know her mind, but I suspect it's Obama's vote to lose with Ann Althouse.

somefeller said...

Ann voted for Obama in the primary.

So did Fen, so that's not the end of the conversation. And if memory serves, she voted for Edwards in 2004, but went with Bush in the general election.

And you're telling me she's in the tank for McCain...for what reason?

I'm not saying Ann is in the tank for McCain, but she seems to criticize Obama more and more harshly than McCain. If I had to place a bet today, I'd bet she'll go with McCain.

somefeller said...

By the way, I took the online version of the test, and it was silly. Once you figured out what the logic behind the test was in relation to linking images, ideas and reflexes (which took me about 10 seconds), you could game the test.

former law student said...

They were not talking about MEN, they were talking about one man; John Kerry.

Watson, consider the curious incident of the dog in the night time.
- But the dog did nothing in the nigh time.
That was the curious incident.

I believe Ann voted in the Democratic primary because it still offered a contest, not because she was in the tank for Obama.

somefeller -- what was your purpose in gaming the test? When you read the horoscopes in the morning, do you pick one you like, then decide you're a Libra for the day?

Zeb Quinn said...

I say that I don't know who you will end up voting for. Your heart seems to say Obama. What will your head say in November?