ERIC Number: EJ762806
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Sep-8
Reference Count: N/A
Who Do You Think You Are?
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, v22 n15 p32-35 Sep 2005
Harvard psychologist Dr. Mahzarin R. Banaji is helping explore the world of subconscious bias with the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Banaji teamed up with fellow psychology professors Dr. Anthony Greenwald of the University of Washington and Dr. Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia to develop the IAT. The IAT was created as a tool to examine thoughts and feelings that exist either outside of conscious awareness or outside of conscious control. In essence, the test uncovers subconscious preferences. For people who consider themselves fair-minded and objective, the results of the IAT can be unsettling and unexpected, as Banaji found out when she took it for the first time. She was shocked to discover how many biases existed within her subconscious. The revelatory test quickly acquired both critics and supporters in the psychology community. There were those who were convinced of the validity of implicit attitudes and those who believe that the IAT had no relation at all to prejudice and discrimination. These diverse reactions had in common a sense that it would be important to understand just what it was that the IAT was so potently revealing. In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's Grutter v. Bollinger decision, which validated affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan, Banaji believes the IAT could play a role in college admissions. In an upcoming paper, she states that "attitudes predict behavior and suggest that 'colorblind' legislation, such as Proposition 209, does not necessarily result in colorblind decision-making, whereas affirmative action measures can serve to correct race bias."
Descriptors: Association Measures, Psychology, College Admission, Affirmative Action, Social Bias, Psychological Patterns, Attitude Measures, Racial Bias, Court Litigation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Proposition 209 (California 1996)