Implicit bias
April 30th, 2006

This Science News online article says “it lurks in the mind’s dark basement,secretly shaping our opinions,attitudes, and stereotypes.This devious manipulator does its best to twist our behavior to its nefarious end.Its stock in trade:stirring up racial prejudice and a host of other pernicious preconceptions about members of various groups.Upstairs,our conscious mind ignores this pushy cellar dweller and assumes that we’re decent folk whose actions usually reflect good intentions.Welcome to the disturbing world of implicit bias,where people’s preferences for racial,ethnic,and other groups lie outside their awareness and often clash with their professed beliefs about those groups.In the past 15 years,most social psychologists have come to agree that implicit biases,also known as unconscious attitudes,play an often-unnoticed role in our lives.Researchers study implicit biases using any of several techniques,such as tracking participants’ feelings and behaviors after subliminally showing them pictures of black or old people.However, one measure–the Implicit Association Test, or IAT–has proved especially popular.Since its introduction in 1998,more than 250 IAT-related studies have been published.More than 3 million IATs have been completed on a Web site”.From the Project Implicit website.”Project Implicit represents a collaborative research effort between researchers at Harvard University, the University of Virginia, and University of Washington.While the particular purposes of each study vary considerably,most studies available at Project Implicit examine thoughts and feelings that exist either outside of conscious awareness or outside of conscious control…..”

The Bias Finders

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