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Author Topic: Mechanisms of Prejudice: Hidden and Not Hidden  (Read 6443 times)

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Implicit attitudes are studied indirectly, most commonly by measures like the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which tests how quickly individuals associate pairs of items, such as male and female names with leadership traits.2 Implicit attitudes contrast with explicit attitudes, which are paradigmatically expressed in individuals’ reflective judgments and self-reported commitments.

How are we to understand cases such as these in which our automatic, intuitive responses come apart from our considered commitments?

The 2004 study is particularly striking in that the automatic, virtually unconscious tendencies of students in the women’s college seem to have been in some sense getting it right while their reflective judgments persisted in getting it wrong.  :o

Implicit attitudes shape a wide range of pivotal decisions
and actions without our ever realizing it. They influence our judgments about
whom to trust and whom to ignore, whom to promote and whom to imprison. While it would be a mistake to think that implicit attitudes are intrinsically bad or regrettable features of human psychology, our failure to appreciate what they are and how they affect us can cause serious and pervasive harm.

In the paradigmatic cases I consider in this dissertation, the challenge is what to do about the implicit attitudes that get it wrong.

For example,
while fewer and fewer Americans openly avow racist and sexist beliefs, subtle but pervasive forms of disparate treatment on the basis of race and gender persist.

Some researchers have suggested that part of the explanation for this state of affairs is that many Americans have egalitarian explicit attitudes—in that they sincerely embrace anti-racist and antisexist commitments—but nevertheless harbor a range of biased implicit attitudes.

In one study, participants evaluated two hypothetical candidates for a job as chief of police.3 One candidate had extensive “street” experience but little formal education; the other had extensive formal education but little street experience. When the street-smart candidate was male and the book smart candidate was female, participants said that street smarts were the most important criteria for being an effective police chief, and recommended promoting the man.

However, when the street-smart candidate was female and the book-smart candidate was male, participants said book smarts were more important, and, once again, recommended the man.

They unwittingly tailored their judgments about the tools necessary to be a successful police chief to match their gut feeling that the man was better suited than the woman for the job.  :P :o ???

The Hidden Mechanisms of Prejudice: Implicit Bias & Interpersonal Fluency by Alex Madva
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.. -- Psalm 34:6


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