Implicit Bias: Science and Society




We coined the term implicit bias in 1995 to capture the idea that bias, i.e., a deviation from accuracy or values can be implicit, i.e., operate without conscious awareness or conscious control. The idea emerged from basic research on implicit social cognition (ISC), an area of scientific psychology that explores the hidden aspects of mental representations of self, other, and social groups. Today, 25 years later, the term implicit bias has transcended academic psychology and permeated contemporary culture where it is used and contested every day. In this seminar, we will study the science of implicit bias, with a focus on disparities that emerge along the lines of social categories of age, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, physical attributes, religion, politics, language and culture, geographic region and nationality. The seminar will provide an introduction to the science of implicit bias: origin and break from orthodoxy, basic theoretical concepts, dominant methods, noteworthy discoveries, criticisms (by experts), implications for policy and law. Additionally, the seminar will provide an opportunity to explore the societal impact of implicit bias in domains such as employment, healthcare, education, and law. Beyond these content-specific goals, the seminar is designed to (a) sharpen analytic and ethical thinking, and (b) develop the capacity to build educational materials that can render the science accessible to policy makers and the public (see,


Additional Information

Faculty: Mahzarin Banaji
Semester: Full Fall Term
Time: Mon, 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. ET