Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People

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Delacorte Press, 2013 - Psychology - 254 pages
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I know my own mind.
I am able to assess others in a fair and accurate way.


These self-perceptions are challenged by leading psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald as they explore the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality.

“Blindspot” is the authors' metaphor for the portion of the mind that houses hidden biases. Writing with simplicity and verve, Banaji and Greenwald question the extent to which our perceptions of social groups—without our awareness or conscious control—shape our likes and dislikes and our judgments about people's character, abilities, and potential.

In Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test, a method that has revolutionized the way scientists learn about the human mind and that gives us a glimpse into what lies within the metaphoric blindspot.

The title's “good people” are those of us who strive to align our behavior with our intentions. The aim of Blindspot is to explain the science in plain enough language to help well-intentioned people achieve that alignment. By gaining awareness, we can adapt beliefs and behavior and “outsmart the machine” in our heads so we can be fairer to those around us. Venturing into this book is an invitation to understand our own minds.

Brilliant, authoritative, and utterly accessible, Blindspot is a book that will challenge and change readers for years to come.

Praise for Blindspot

“A riveting book steeped in research that feels personal, sometimes uncomfortably so . . . Banaji and Greenwald capture our attention . . . in this accessible and sobering book.”—BookPage

“Accessible and authoritative . . . This research takes Freud's dagger into our vanity and twists it.”—The Washington Post

“An accessible and persuasive account of the causes of stereotyping and discrimination . . . Banaji and Greenwald will keep even nonpsychology students engaged with plenty of self-examinations and compelling elucidations of case studies and experiments.”—Publishers Weekly

“Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald's work has revolutionized social psychology, proving that—unconsciously—people are affected by dangerous stereotypes.”—Psychology Today

“A stimulating treatment that should help readers deal with irrational biases that they would otherwise consciously reject.”—Kirkus Reviews
 

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Contents

Shades of Truth
21
Not That Theres Anything Wrong with That
53
Homo Categoricus
71
The Hidden Costs of Stereotypes
94
US and Them
123
s Outsmarting the Machine
145
APPENDIx1 Are Americans Racist?
169
APPENDIx2 Race Disadvantage and Discrimination
189
AcknowledgMents
211
REFERENCES
233
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About the author (2013)

Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald, collaborators for more than thirty years, are kindred spirits in their search to understand how the mind operates in social contexts. Banaji teaches at Harvard University, Greenwald at the University of Washington. With their colleague Brian Nosek, they are co-developers of the Implicit Association Test, a method that transformed them, their research, and their field of inquiry. In this book, for the first time, research evidence from their labs and from the more than fourteen million completed tests at implicit.harvard.edu is made available to the general reader.

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