Unusual interratial dating
The students were shown a series of faces of black and white people and then were immediately asked to categorize words as either positive or negative as quickly as possible after looking at a face.
The researchers found that people were significantly faster at sorting unpleasant words after being shown a black face and, conversely, faster at sorting pleasant words after looking at a white face.
According to Christian Rudder, the Harvard-educated data whiz who founded Ok Cupid, that’s not actually how it works. In a 2009 post on the dating site’s Ok Trends dating research blog, Rudder noted that there’s very little variation in how people of different races match up with each other based on the site’s algorithm, which analyzes their interests and spits out a score showing their compatibility.
There is a tight correlation between how well two people match each other and how likely they are to message each other back and forth—the best sign the site’s operators have that a relationship is blossoming.
One method psychologists use to isolate these judgments is through a process called the Implicit Association Test.
When someone sees another person’s face, their brain, subconsciously and automatically, runs through a litany of images and associations, each coming with their own individual value judgment, that help that person make sense of the world.Using the signs of the Zodiac as an example, Rudder found that every single Zodiac sign matches every other Zodiac sign at exactly the same 60 percent compatibility rate—save for a one point drop for inter-Aquarius pairings.The rate at which members of each Zodiac group respond to messages from other Zodiac signs is basically identical for every possible match.“As a result, the gap between conservatives and liberals in revealed same-race preferences, while still substantial, is not as pronounced as their stated attitudes would suggest.” The researchers suggest that what’s going on here isn’t overt racism.Instead, it’s an interplay of social issues operating just below the surface.