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Description: If you found out that you had an implicit bias towards one racial group for another that have an impact on how you acted when dealing with people in the world? The implicit associations test used by social psychologists make it possible to ask people that question directly. How would you respond?

Source: The Inquisitive Mind, Does it matter if people are aware of their implicit racial bias? Aaron Moss.

Date: September 26, 2015

Implicit Associations Test

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General social norms in North America indicate that is unacceptable to hold negative or prejudiced beliefs about minority groups. Nevertheless something called the implicit associations test can show when people, despite not publicly taking a prejudice position, Harbor implicit negative biases or beliefs about minority groups. It turns out we are rather good at noting explicit racial biases and others an important question would be whether finding out about our own level of implicit bias has any sort of impact on our social actions. In addition to using the implicit associations test to simply look for the presence of racial biases, so psychologists have begun to see whether providing people with information about their current level of bias might help further reduce those same biases.

If you’re interested in the implicit Association test you can take it here:

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are implicit associations about race different than clear conscious prejudiced beliefs?
  2. Would knowing that one holds biased beliefs about a particular minority group have an impact on those beliefs?
  3. How might the implicit associations test be used to expand efforts to reduce the prejudicial treatment of minority groups?

References (Read Further):

Axt, J. R., Ebersole, C. R., & Nosek, B. A. (2014). The rules of implicit evaluation by race, religion, and age. Psychological Science, 25, 1804-1815. doi:10.1177/0956797614543801

Cooley, E., Payne, B. K., Loersch, C. & Lei, R. Who owns implicit attitudes? Testing a metacognitive perspective. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 103-115. doi: 10.1177/0146167214559712

Crandall, C. S., Eshleman, A., & O’Brien, L. (2002). Social norms and the expression and suppression of prejudice: The struggle for internalization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 359-378. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.82.3.359

Frantz, C. M., Cuddy, A. J., Burnett, M., Ray, H., & Hart, A. (2004). A threat in the computer: The race implicit association test as a stereotype threat experience. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 1611-1624. doi:10.1177/0146167204266650

Greenwald, A. G., McGhee, D. E., & Schwartz, J. L. K. (1998). Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The implicit association test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1464-1480. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.74.6.1464

Hahn, A., Judd, C. M., Hirsh, H. K., & Blair, I. V. (2014). Awareness of implicit attitudes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143, 1369-1392. doi:10.1037/a0035028

Howell, J. L., Collison, B., Crysel, L., Garrido, C. O., Newell, S. M., Cottrell, C. A., Smith, C. T., & Shepperd, J. A. (2013). Managing the threat of implicit attitude feedback. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 714-720. doi:10.1177/1948550613479803

Monteith, M. J., Voils, C. I., & Ashburn-Nardo, L. (2001). Taking a look underground: Detecting, interpreting, and reacting to implicit racial biases. Social Cognition, 19, 395-417. doi:10.1521/soco.19.4.395.20759

Plant, E., & Devine, P. G. (1998). Internal and external motivation to respond without prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 811-832. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.75.3.811

Perry, S. P., Murphy, M. C., & Dovidio, J. F. Modern prejudice: Subtle, but unconscious? The role of bias awareness in Whites’ perceptions of personal and others’ biases. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (2015), doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.06.007