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Reflect on and learn more about personal prejudices and values.
An implicit bias is a type of unconscious stereotyping that can lead to differential treatment of certain groups of people.
Examples of implicit bias
For example, though most would not state a racial prejudice, people are more likely to incorrectly identify an African-American man as having a weapon in a photo or video than they are a Caucasian man (Greenwald, Oakes, and Hoffman, 2003). The concept of implicit biases has been most widely publicized through the work of psychologists Nosek, Banaji, and Greenwald who developed the Implicit Associations Test. This test has been used to look at people's implicit associations between women and science (Stout, Dasgupta, Hunsiger and McManus, 2011) and about racial prejudice (Plant et al., 2006).
What are your implicit biases? Take an Implicit Association Test here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/
- Implicit biases are pervasive. They appear as statistically "large" effects that are often shown by majorities of samples of Americans. Over 80% of web respondents show implicit negativity toward the elderly compared to the young; 75-80% of self-identified Whites and Asians show an implicit preference for racial White relative to Black.
- People are often unaware of their implicit biases. Ordinary people, including the researchers who direct this project, are found to harbor negative associations in relation to various social groups (i.e., implicit biases) even while honestly (the researchers believe) reporting that they regard themselves as lacking these biases.
- Implicit biases predict behavior. From simple acts of friendliness and inclusion to more consequential acts such as the evaluation of work quality, those who are higher in implicit bias have been shown to display greater discrimination. The published scientific evidence is rapidly accumulating. Over 200 published scientific investigations have made use of one or another version of the IAT.
- People differ in levels of implicit bias. Implicit biases vary from person to person - for example as a function of the person’s group memberships, the dominance of a person’s membership group in society, consciously held attitudes, and the level of bias existing in the immediate environment. This last observation makes clear that implicit attitudes are modified by experience.
NILANJANA DASGUPTA at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst conducts research that "challenges the assumption that implicit prejudice and stereotypes are immutable and identifies circumstances under which they can be changed." Moreover, "results from several lab and field studies revealed that exposure to female STEM professors and experts enhanced women’s positive implicit attitudes toward STEM, increased their identification with STEM, their confidence in STEM, and effort on tests and exams."
Greenwald, A., Oates, M., & Hoffman H. (2003). Targets of discrimination: Effects of race on responses to weapons holders. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 39. 399- 405.
Plant, E., Devine, P., Cox, W., Columb, C., Miller, S., Goplen, J., & Peruche, M. (2006). The Obama effect: Decreasing implicit prejudice and stereotyping. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 45:4. 961-964.
Stout, J., Dasgupta, N., Hunsiger, M., & McManus M. (2011). STEMing the Tide: Using Ingroup Experts to Inoculate Women's Self-Concept in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol. 2, p 255-270.