I've just completed an implicit associations test run by a bunch of psychologists at Harvard, Virginia and Washington.
These tests work by assuming that you are faster to sort things into disjunctive categories when the disjuncts are things you (perhaps implicitly) associate with each other. So for instance, in one of their more disturbing tests, it turns out most people are much faster at sorting things into the categories 'African American or bad' vs 'European American or good' than into the categories 'African American or good' vs 'European American or bad', which is taken as evidence of positive associations with the one race and negative associations with the other.
The one I got had to do with TV and books. The test was fun (if a bit predictable), but the result that was given to me at the end seemed to me to be a misreporting of what they could reasonably claim to have discovered. I turned out to be a little bit faster at sorting into 'books or good' vs 'TV or bad' than into 'books or bad' vs 'TV or good', and they concluded that I have a 'slight preference' for books over TV. But 'preference' looks like a really bad word to use here. On a natural reading of what they're claiming, it means that I prefer to spend my time reading books than watching TV. Whereas the most their test has shown is that books have more positive connotations for me than TV. These two things obviously come apart – people could, for instance, enjoy TV much more whilst thinking of it as a guilty pleasure because watching TV is mind-rotting while reading books is worthy and highbrow.
This bothered me just enough to make me send an email ...
I think it would have bothered me a lot more if I'd been given a different test; if, for instance, I had turned out to have more positive associations with European Americans than African Americans and they'd described me as 'preferring' European Americans. This, at least on its natural reading, would imply far more than they could claim to have established.