In bias test, shades of gray

Tags: racial bias, houses, passive sentence, The Government, Hundreds, The police, Philip Tetlock, Anthony Greenwald, psychologists, computer test, psychologist, Implicit Association Test, unconscious bias, The doctors
Content: JURNALISM, AVANSATI, ANUL 3, 5 DEC 2008 I. READING, TRANSLATING, SPEAKING In Bias* Test, Shades of Gray By JOHN TIERNEY Published: November 17, 2008 Last year, a team of researchers at Harvard made headlines* with an experiment testing unconscious bias at hospitals. Doctors were shown the picture of a 50-year-old man -- sometimes black, sometimes white -- and asked how they would treat him if he arrived at the emergency room with chest pains indicating a possible heart attack. Then the doctors took a computer test* intended to reveal unconscious racial bias. The doctors who scored higher on the bias test were less likely than the other doctors to give clot-busting* drugs to the black patients, according to the researchers, who suggested addressing the problem by encouraging doctors to test themselves for unconscious bias. The results were hailed* by other psychologists as some of the strongest evidence that unconscious bias leads to harmful discrimination. But then two other researchers, Neal Dawson and Hal Arkes, pointed out a curious pattern* in the data. Even though most of the doctors registered some antiblack bias, as defined by the researchers, on the whole* doctors ended up prescribing the clotbusting drugs to blacks just as often as to whites. The doctors scoring low on bias had a pronounced preference for giving the drugs to blacks, while high-scoring doctors had a relatively small preference for giving the drugs to whites -- meaning that the more "biased" doctors actually treated blacks and whites more equally. Does this result really prove dangerous bias in the emergency room? Or, as critics suggest, does it illustrate problems with the way researchers have been using splitsecond* reactions on a computer test to diagnose an epidemic of racial bias? In a series of scathing* critiques, some psychologists have argued that this computerized tool, the Implicit Association Test, or I.A.T., has methodological problems and uses arbitrary classifications of bias. If Barack Obama's victory seemed surprising, these critics say, it's partly because Social Scientists helped create the false impression that three-quarters of whites are unconsciously biased against blacks. The I.A.T., which has been taken by millions of people on an academic Web site, measures respondents' reaction times as they follow instructions to associate words like "joy" or "awful" with either blacks or whites. It generally takes whites longer to associate positive words with blacks than with whites, although some do show no bias. (To meet one of these exceptional cases, go to TierneyLab, at nytimes.com/tierneylab.) The test is widely used in research, and some critics acknowledge that it's a useful tool for detecting unconscious attitudes and studying cognitive processes. But they say it's misleading for I.A.T. researchers to give individuals ratings like "slight," "moderate" or "strong" -- and advice on dealing with their bias -- when there isn't even that much consistency in the same person's scores if the test is taken again. 1
"One can decrease racial bias scores on the I.A.T. by simply exposing people to pictures of African-Americans enjoying a picnic," says Hart Blanton, a psychologist at Texas A&M. "Yet respondents who take this test on the Web are given feedback suggesting that some enduring* quality is being assessed*." He says that even the scoring system itself has been changed arbitrarily in recent years. "People receiving feedback about their `strong' racial biases," Dr. Blanton says, "are encouraged in sensitivity* workshops to confront these tendencies as some ugly reality that has meaning in their daily lives. But unbeknownst* to respondents who take this test, the labels* given to them were chosen by a small group of people who simply looked at a distribution* of test scores and decided what terms seemed about right. This is not how science is done." Two of the leading I.A.T. researchers, Anthony Greenwald of the University of Washington and Mahzarin Banaji of Harvard, say that some of the past criticism about their Measurement Techniques has been useful. But they dismiss most of the current objections as moot* because the I.A.T.'s validity has been confirmed repeatedly. In a new a meta-analysis of more than 100 studies, Dr. Greenwald, Dr. Banaji and fellow psychologists conclude that scores on I.A.T. reliably* predict people's behavior and attitudes, and that the test is a better predictor of interracial behavior than selfdescription. Their critics reach a different conclusion after reanalyzing the data in some of those studies, which they say are inconsistent and sometimes demonstrate the reverse of what has been reported. They have suggested addressing the scientific dispute over bias -- and the researchers' arguments about the legal implications for affirmative-action policies -- by having the two sides join in an "adversarial collaboration." One critic, Philip Tetlock, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, said he had found prominent research groups and scholars willing to mediate joint experiments. But so far nothing has happened -- and each side blames the other. Dr. Greenwald says he tried proposing a joint experiment to Dr. Tetlock only to have it rejected. Dr. Tetlock says that he tried a counterproposal and offered to work out a compromise, but that the I.A.T. researchers had refused two invitations to sit down with Independent Mediators. After all the mutual invective in the I.A.T. debate, maybe it's unrealistic to expect the two sides to collaborate. But these social scientists are supposed to be experts in overcoming bias and promoting social harmony. If they can't figure out how to get along with their own colleagues, how seriously should we take their advice for everyone else? Bias[ bais] = tendinta, inclina Make headlines [meik hedlains] = to be in the headlines = a fi in centrul atentiei Take a test [teik test] = a da un test Clot-busting [klot- bsti] = distrugere (bust) a cheagurilor (clot) Hail [heil] = a saluta Pattern[ pжtn] = model, tipar On the whole [on р houl] = per total Split-second [split seknd] = fractiune de secunda Scathing [skeiрi] = nimicitor, usturator, distrugator Enduring [indjuri] = trainic, de durata Assess [ses] = a evalua Sensitivity [ sensitiviti]= sensibilitate 2
Unbeknownst [nbinounst] - prov. din "unbeknown" = necunoscut, obscur, nestiut Label [leibl] = eticheta Distribution [ distribju:n] = repartizare, clasificare Moot [mu:t] = discutabil Reliable [rilaibl] = de incredere
II. GRAMMAR - PASSIVE 1
Explanations
Passive: form:
# To make the passive we use be and a past participle. Compare the active and the passive forms in these examples: - Present Simple: The Government builds hundreds of houses every year. (active) Hundreds of houses are built every year.
- Present continuous: The authorities are questioning two men. Two men are being questioned by the authorities.
- present perfect: We have chosen Helen as the new president. Helen has been chosen as the new president.
- Past Simple: The police arrested one protester. One protester was arrested.
- will: They will play the match on Wednesday evening. The match will be played on Wednesday evening.
# Notice how the object in the active form (hundreds of houses, two men, Helen) moves to the front in the passive sentence and becomes the subject.
Passive: use
# Focus on important information
Compare:
(active):
The Government built hundreds of
houses last year.
(passive): Hundreds of houses were built by the
Government last year.
In the active sentence more emphasis is given to who did the action ­ the Government. In the passive sentence more emphasis is given to the thing affected by the action ­ the number of houses. Emphasized information usually comes at the beginning of the sentence.
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# Spoken and written: the passive is used more in writing and formal speech.
Using by and with:
# The person or organization that does the action is called `the agent'. If we want to say who does the action then we use by. Hundreds of houses were built last year. Hundreds of houses were built by the Government last year. A lot of stones were thrown. A lot of stones were thrown by angry football fans.
# The thing that is used to perform and action is called `the instrument'. If we want to include this we use with. The windows were broken with a baseball bat.
Sentences without an agent: It is not always necessary to mention the agent. There are several reasons for this:
# Agent not known: Brenda's motorbike was stolen last night. If we knew who had stolen it, we would mention the name of the person. But we don't know and the agent is not mentioned.
# Agent obvious: One protester was arrested. It is not necessary to add the words `by the police', because we know that it is always the police who do this. However, it is possible to add these words if we want to.
# Agent unimportant: A lot of English Grammar books are sold every year. Exactly who sells the book is not important. If it was important we could use "by" and the names of the people or shops who sell the book.
Transitive and intransitive verbs: # Verbs which have objects are called transitive verbs (ex: help). In this sentence, `the old lady' is the object: A young man helped the old lady across the road.
# Verbs which do not have objects are called intransitive verbs (ex: walk) Diane walks to college.
# Dictionaries show this information with T or I. Only transitive verbs can be made passive. The old lady was helped across the road by a young man.
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Practice: 1. Underline phrases which are not necessary in these sentences. Sometimes every phrase is necessary: a) My wallet has been stolen by someone. b) We were taught by a different teacher yesterday. c) Nick was operated on at the hospital by a doctor. d) The meal was served by a waiter in a red coat. e) We were shown round the museum by a guide. f) Two letters were delivered this morning by a postman. g) Three men have been arrested by the police. h) Yesterday a window was broken by someone. 2. Complete each sentence with a passive verb. a) The police questioned George. George was questioned by the police. b) Millions of people watch this programme. This programme..................by millions of people. c) They will finish our new house at the end of the month. Our new house....................at the end of the month. d) They've elected a new president. A new president................. e) They're rebuilding the damaged stadium. The damaged stadium.................. f) They've closed the mountain road. The mountain road...................... g) Students write most of the magazine. Most of the magazine......................by students. h) A burglar stole my laptop. My laptop..................by a burglar. i) Somebody will meet you at the bus station. You..................at the bus station. j) United won the cup last year. Last year the cup.................by United. 3. Underline the errors in these sentences. Rewrite each sentence. a) Many pet dogs are losing every year. Many pet dogs are lost every year. b) The injured man was been taken to hospital. ..................................... c) A new bridge is be built across the river. .................................... d) All the food at the party was ate. ....................................... e) Nothing will being decided before next Sunday. ....................................... 5
f) The match is playing on Friday evening. .......................................... g) The robber unlocked the door by a false key. .......................................... h) This book was writing by Sam's father. ........................................... 4. For every question, complete the second sentence so that it means the same as the first, using no more than three words. a) Archaeologists have discovered a new tomb in Egypt. A new tomb has been discovered by archaeologists in Egypt. b) The President will open the new sports stadium on Saturday. The new sports stadium..................by the President on Saturday. c) Picasso painted this portrait. This portrait....................Picasso. d) They will announce the results of the competition tomorrow. The results of the competition ..................tomorrow. e) They're redecorating our school during the summer holidays. Our school................... during the summer holidays. f) The police in New York have arrested three terrorrists. Three terrorrists.................... in New York. g) Our company sells more than 1,000 cars every week. More than 1,000 cars................. our company every week. h) They're building a new museum in the city centre. A new museum.................. in the city centre. 5. Rewrite each sentence with a passive verb, and so that the names of people are not mentioned: a) The authorities have closed the casino. The casino has been closed. b) The clubs have postponed the match. .................................... c) People all over the world speak English. ................................. d) The authorities have opened the new swimming pool. ................................... e) Somone left this purse in the classroom yesterday. ....................................... f) The city council has banned traffic from the city centre. ......................................... g) People have elected a new government. ........................................ h) Someone broke into the flat last week. ........................................ 6
- PASSIVE 2 Explanations Verbs with two objects: To be born:
# Some verbs can have two objects. We can: Give, lend, offer, promise, sell, send, take something to somebody Buy, keep, make, prepare, save something for somebody # In active sentences we can use these verbs in two ways: Peter gave Karen a present. Peter gave a present to Karen. Each way can be made passive. Karen was given a present by Peter. A present was given to Karen by Peter. # The form without to/for is more usual, in both Active and Passive sentences. To be born is a passive form but does not have an obvious passive meaning.
Have something done: Passive+ infinitive:
# When a professional person, ex. a mechanic, a plumber etc, does some work for us, we can use have something done. Have can be used in any tense. We had our house painted last year. I'm having my car servicEd Tomorrow. I've had my room decorated. # We also use this for unpleasant happenings. She had her house broken into. Tim had his arm broken playing rugby. # The verbs believe, expect, know, report, say, think, suppose, understand are often used in the present simple passive followed by an infinitive (to do, to be doing). This use is common in news reports. The economy is expected to grow by 2% this year. Beckham is said to be considering a transfer from Manchester United. The new shopping centre is supposed to open next spring.
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Practice:
1. Choose the correct word or phrase in each sentence. a) I'm having my hair cutting/cut/ to have cut tomorrow. b) The children were took/taken/taking to the seaside for the day. c) I was sending/sent/send here by the manager. d) Kate is having her car services/serving/serviced tomorrow. e) Sue had her windows breaking/broken/broke by vandals. f) David has been offer/offering/offer a new job in Brazil. g) Where exactly were you born/did you born/did you bear? h) I've just had my bike repaired/repair/repairing. i) I was given/gave/did give this book by Emily. j) This cake makes/made/was made for her birthday.
2. Rewrite each sentence beginning and ending as shown. Do not change the meaning. a) Someone stole Bob's bike. Bob had his bike stolen. b) John Lent me this book. This book.................John. c) The dentist took out one of my teeth yesterday. Yesterday I...................out. d) Cairo is my place of birth. I.................................in Cairo. e) A rock concert ticket was sold to me by a friend. I was...........................by a friend. f) Someone broke into Tom's house last week. Tom had..........................last week. g) When is your date of birth? When exactly...........................born? h) My parents gave me this ring. I...........................................parents. i) I'm keeping this bottle of wine for a special occasion. This bottle of wine.................................for a special occasion. j) We will send you a letter with your exam results. A letter....................................to you with your exam results.
3. Rewrite each sentence so that it has a similar meaning and contains the word in
capitals.
a) They're servicing my car tomorrow. HAVING
I'm having my car serviced tomorrow.
b) Yesterday they stole my bike. HAD
........................
c) Last year they painted our house.
HAD
..................
d) They are taking out my tooth tomorrow.
HAVING
.....................
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e) They've just cut my hair.
HAD
....................
f) They're fitting our new carpet tomorrow.
HAVING
..........................
g) They've just painted Ann's portrait. HAD
.................................
4. Rewrite the first sentence as a news report using present simple passive + infinitive. a) Lots of people believe the criminal is leaving abroad. The criminal is believed to be living abroad. b) Economists suppose that inflation will fall next year. Inflation.................................next year. c) Everyone expects that Arsenal will win the League. Arsenal..............................the League. d) People think the Government is planning a new airport. The Government...........................a new airport. e) They say he is making a new movie about the Civil War. He............................a new movie about the Civil War. f) Journalists report that the Finance Minister disagrees with the President. The Finance Minister...........................with the President.
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