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The Aporophobia App

Aporophobia Implicit Association Test

From September 2021, the International Association of Jesuit Universities commissioned our group to design and develop and APP to measure aporophobia implicit bias in college students in the United States. The main result of this project would be the provision of an experiential learning about aporophobia that can stimulate students’ awareness of the problem and promote a change in their beliefs and attitudes towards the poor. This app is built on the lines of Harvard’s Implicit Project where people are offered tests where they can react to associations between couples of words with different meanings. For instance, in the Implicit Gender-Career test, people are faced with words that belong to the workplace and words that belong to house chores and test the speed in which people associate these words to different genders (comparing the speed in which they relate men/workplace and women/house and vice-versa to assess people’s degree of discrimination). The theory behind these tests is very simple. When we discriminate, we establish neural paths that make these ideas come more naturally (quicker) to us.
The app can be used in a class where poverty is discussed and what individuals and companies can do to alleviate or decrease it. Of course, the first step should start with a self-reflection about how ourselves handle the issue in our minds and attitudes. Making students confront their own shortcomings can be more effective than other kinds of pedagogical material in which the students have the option to take them passively. Instead, the app, a solution that seems to fit the demands of 21st-century students, fits well their expectation of having information at their fingertips.
The SEE research team working on this App is led by Dr. Flavio Comim, and composed of Oriol Quintana, Llorenç Puig i Puig, Octasiano Valerio, Mihály Borsi, and Georgina Curto.
The Aporophobia App will be deployed in colleges around the US. However, the SEE Research Group is working on a Spanish version that can be implemented in for Spanish university students and also for a version of the app that can be adapted for children in secondary schools.

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