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Blindspot: Hidden Biases Of Good People

(Boyznberry/Flickr)

(Boyznberry/Flickr)

Do you prefer white people over black people? Do you believe men and women are “better” than each other in certain fields? Are you even aware of your hidden prejudices?

In their new book, “Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People,” pioneering pyschologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald unveil the origins of our personal preferences and automatic prejudices. After creating the Implicit Association Test, an online survey that addresses unconcious bias in American culture, Banaji and Greenwald seek to identify the “blindspots” in our individual psyche and reacquaint us with our own mind.

Guest

Mahzarin R. Banaji, Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard University and co-author of the new book “Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People


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  • glenninboston

    Great discussion, I’m embarrassed that I failed as well – and I have worked in healthcare for 15 years!

    One question – how much of this is a ‘true’ bias, and how much is a reflection of the societal bias? (i.e. most surgeons ARE men…) How do you work to distill this difference? (clearly, both play a role?)

    Regardless, hopefully knowledge is the key to overcoming even these innate biases. I’ll look forward to the book.

  • Livengoo

    I took the implicit bias test for race too and yes, I did also come up with the association but I had one criticism.  Implicit bias tends to be based on response time to the photo and many, many of the faces used for black or African American persons were currently prominent Bush Cabinet conservatives such as Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell.  My response to the W. Bush administration  was and is violently negative and my reactions to ANYONE in that cabinet of any race are extremely negative. I would really love to be able to take the implicit bias test for race but with the change that all white and black persons pictured are ordinary people who do not have prominent news presence.  Or, at worst, that only one picture is for a prominent person.  Worse, once I perceived a bias in photo choice I started trying to remember if each person pictured was Bush cabinet and chosen for their prominence, totally invalidating my results.  When I took other exams for bias against, for example, Asians and American Indians I don’t remember recognizing most of the faces, and I think my reactions were more valid. 

    I still wonder if the bias measured in the black/white test were actually biases against W.  Bush and his cronies, rather than race.  I assure you, there is NOTHING implicit about my bias based on Bush and Cheney and their lackeys!

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