The term implicit bias was first coined in 1995 by one of our NOTA Speakers and Greatest scientist of our time, Mahzarin Banaji, PhD.

Mahzarin banajip
Mahzarin Banaji, PhD, is the Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics in the department of psychology at Harvard University and a pioneer in the study of implicit bias. She studies the disparities between conscious expressions of values, attitudes, and beliefs on the one hand, and less conscious, implicit representations of mental content. She has primarily studied social attitudes and beliefs in adults and children, relying on multiple methods including cognitive/affective behavioral measures, computational approaches, and neuroimaging. In addition to research and university teaching, her current efforts are focused on applying evidence from the science of social cognition to improving organizational practices.

Banaji is a fellow of the Society for Experimental Psychologists, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the National Academy of Sciences. In 2016 she received the William James Fellow Award for “a lifetime of significant intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology” from the Association for Psychological Science, an organization of which she also served as president. In 2017 she received the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution. She is the author, with Anthony Greenwald, PhD, of the 2013 book Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People.

What is implicit bias?

Implicit biases are the unconscious associations, beliefs, or attitudes we hold towards various social groups. They play a significant role in why individuals often ascribe certain qualities or traits to all members of a specific group, a phenomenon commonly referred to as stereotyping.

It’s crucial to recognize that implicit biases largely operate at the unconscious level. Unlike explicit biases, which are deliberate and controllable, implicit biases are more subtle and automatic.

Even individuals who outwardly express disapproval of certain attitudes or beliefs may still harbor similar biases on an unconscious level. These biases may not necessarily align with our conscious sense of self or personal identity. Additionally, individuals can hold both positive and negative associations about their own race, gender, religion, sexuality, or other personal attributes.

Learn more directly from her on this conversation on Implicit bias with John Battelle

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