A quarter-century ago, social psychologist Anthony Greenwald of the University of Washington developed a test that exposed an uncomfortable aspect of the human mind: People have deep-seated biases of which they are completely unaware. And these hidden attitudes — known as implicit bias — influence the way we act toward each other, often with unintended discriminatory consequences.
Since then, Greenwald and his main collaborators, Mahzarin Banaji and Brian Nosek, have used the implicit association test to measure how fast and accurately people associate different social groups with qualities like good and bad. They have developed versions of the test to measure things such as unconscious attitudes about race, gender stereotypes and bias against older people. Those tests have revealed just how pervasive implicit bias is.
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