Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Forget fake news, we've got fake realities

What is it in the air or the water? Popular SJW academic themes have been getting knocked hard lately. In the past couple of months I recall noting some new research undermining the idea of Implicit Attitude Tests. What else? There was another major article of faith undermined recently. Triggering? Safe Spaces? Maybe.

Anyway, here comes another research paper, this time revealing that microaggressions as a concept has little or no evidentiary basis in reality. From Microaggressions: Strong Claims, Inadequate Evidence by Scott O. Lilienfeld. From the abstract:
The microaggression concept has recently galvanized public discussion and spread to numerous college campuses and businesses. I argue that the microaggression research program (MRP) rests on five core premises, namely, that microaggressions (1) are operationalized with sufficient clarity and consensus to afford rigorous scientific investigation; (2) are interpreted negatively by most or all minority group members; (3) reflect implicitly prejudicial and implicitly aggressive motives; (4) can be validly assessed using only respondents’ subjective reports; and (5) exert an adverse impact on recipients’ mental health. A review of the literature reveals negligible support for all five suppositions. More broadly, the MRP has been marked by an absence of connectivity to key domains of psychological science, including psychometrics, social cognition, cognitive-behavioral therapy, behavior genetics, and personality, health, and industrial-organizational psychology. Although the MRP has been fruitful in drawing the field’s attention to subtle forms of prejudice, it is far too underdeveloped on the conceptual and methodological fronts to warrant real-world application. I conclude with 18 suggestions for advancing the scientific status of the MRP, recommend abandonment of the term “microaggression,” and call for a moratorium on microaggression training programs and publicly distributed microaggression lists pending research to address the MRP’s scientific limitations.
Triggering, microaggressions, Implicit Attitude Tests, priming, safe spaces, etc. have all been ideological constructs intended to close the Overton Window and they have been markedly successful at doing so. People don't wish to appear to be unsympathetic and end up getting railroaded into positions they don't actually support.

But the harsh truth is that there is little or no empirical support for the reality of triggering, microaggressions, IAT, safe spaces, or priming. These are fake rhetorical devices.

We will be well rid of them as they pass out of circulation. Not a moment too soon.

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