I’m as grumpy as grumpy cat looks for the moment. Probably mostly to do with it being latish in the day, and some mild infection, and I’ll be all chirpy in the morning again. But, this piece annoyed me.
Greenwald & Banaji came up with the IAT – even I use the IAT. And are both good social psychologists. This just doesn’t seem that it should make any of them…blown away in anyway.
Liking the ingroup is not new. Hell, the effect isn’t even new within social psychology, because it is one of the techniques that Cialdini brings up under the “liking” way to yes. You want to get a leg-up, mention the common university, the similar name, the political party or pasttime in common. Hell, those letters of recommendations that universities in the US insist on. The personal. Someone you know, the networks, the friend of a friend of a friend.
It doesn’t seem like it places anything on its head. (Hey, we get that in our data anyway – even in my very own data. Yay, I have original data).
Also, reminds me of what students frequently ask when talking about prejudice. Can’t you also have positive prejudice? Like just deciding you like someone for silly reasons (like area of origin, or skin color, or belonging to your family). Which, in the literature is never considered that way, but, yes, of course. If you look at what the word means (but it is not how it is used).
And, from my wanderings around in Evolutionary Psychology and Anthropology, and various other areas looking at relationships, this is not in the least odd. Chris Boehm suggested we are selfish first, then nepotistic, then altruistic. And, there are plenty of variants of that (haldanes and giving his life for 2 brothers and 4 cousins or whatever that apocryphal story said). This is so human.
But, perhaps it is interesting to the audience, and I should put my grumpy self to sleep anyway.