Monday, 27 July 2009

What do you really think?

Consider the following puzzle:
A man and his son are in a serious car accident. The father is killed and the son is rushed to the emergency room. Upon arrival the attending doctor looks at the child and gasps, "This child is my son!"

Who is the doctor?
This is an insight puzzle. If you found it difficult or impossible to solve, that is because you were blinded by an assumption. In this case it is likely that you have assumed that all doctors are men. Once you are liberated from the implicit association between doctors and men, then it is a very quick step to concluding that the doctor is the boy's mother.

If you would like to explore what implicit association you are unconciously making on a range of issues, then go to Harvard University's Project Implicit website. You can take an online Implicit Association Test [IAT]. Each tests takes about ten minutes to do and you get immediate feedback. There are a range of IATs on the following topics:
  • Gender - Career
  • Gender - Science
  • Race ('Black - White' IAT)
  • Weapons ('Weapons - Harmless Objects' IAT)
  • Weight ('Fat - Thin' IAT)
  • Skin-tone ('Light Skin - Dark Skin' IAT)
  • Age ('Young - Old' IAT)
  • Sexuality ('Gay - Straight' IAT)
  • Arab-Muslim ('Arab Muslim - Other People' IAT)
  • Religion ('Religions' IAT)
  • Disability ('Disabled - Abled' IAT)
Click here to go to the IAT website

Further Reading
Malcolm Gladwell Blink pp. 77-88

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