Matthew Reisz reports on an old parlour game that has become an innovative research method.
Researchers at Cardiff University believe that a new version of an old parlour game can provide us, for the first time, with a tool to “quantify cultural understanding”.
In the Imitation Game, a man and a woman leave a room and respond in writing to a series of questions. People must guess which is the real woman and which the man pretending to be a woman (or vice versa).
Academics have adapted this game to create a powerful experimental technique for social research.
Someone from a particular group, perhaps defined by race, religion or sexual orientation, sits at a computer and types in questions.
He or she gets a response from two people, one a genuine member of the same group and the other attempting to pass as one. The judge must determine who the impostor is and explain their reasoning.
Both the number of questions required to reach a conclusion and the person’s degree of certainty are also recorded.
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