The Situationist

Posts Tagged ‘implicit attitudes’

The Situation of Gender in the Workplace

Posted by The Situationist Staff on May 18, 2012

From Harvard Business Review (part of an op-ed written by Lauren Stiller Rikleen):

The new millennium has not brought much progress for women seeking top leadership roles in the workplace. Although female graduates continue to pour out of colleges and professional schools, the percentages of women running large companies, or serving as managing partners of their law firms, or sitting on corporate boards have barely budged in the past decade.

Why has progress stalled? A recent study suggests the unlikeliest of reasons: the marriage structure of men in the workplace.

A group of researchers from several universities recently published a report on the attitudes and beliefs of employed men, which shows that those with wives who did not work outside the home or who worked part-time were more likely than those with wives who worked to: (1) have an unfavorable view about women in the workplace; (2)think workplaces run less smoothly with more women; (3) view workplaces with female leaders as less desirable; and (4) conside female candidates for promotion to be less qualified than comparable male colleagues.

The researchers also found that the men who exhibited resistance to women’s advancement were “more likely to populate the upper echelons of organizations and thus, occupy more powerful positions.”

Their conclusion? “Marriage structures play an important role in economic life beyond the four walls of the house.” They affect how people view gender roles and how they categorize others. And, as Harvard professor Mahzarin Banaji has documented in her work, using the Implicit Association Test, this can happen even unconsciously.

So even if a male boss explicitly states — and believes — he supports women in leadership, he might still exhibit contradictory behavior or remain oblivious to the obstacles that female colleagues face. Indeed, according to this HBR Research Report from the Center for Work-Life Policy, only 28% of men, compared with 49% of women, see gender bias as still prevalent in the workplace.

I saw this in my own research for Ending the Gauntlet: Removing Barriers to Women’s Success in the Law. Many of the women partners I interviewed described a lack of support and sponsorship from key men in their firms. Several talked to male colleagues who admitted that the success of married women as equity partners invalidated the choices they and their wives had made about how to divide the responsibilities of work and family.

These biases are understandable. It’s natural to seek validation for the choices, and particularly the sacrifices, you have made. But when this expresses itself in attitudes and actions that make it difficult for talented individuals whose choices have been different to advance, it is critical for workplace leaders to intervene.

More.

Related Situationist posts:

Posted in Distribution, Ideology, Implicit Associations, Law, Social Psychology | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

The Psychology of Guns and Race

Posted by Adam Benforado on November 2, 2010

I have just posted my forthcoming article, Quick on the Draw: Implicit Bias and the Second Amendment, on SSRN.  The abstract appears below:

African Americans face a significant and menacing threat, but it is not the one that has preoccupied the press, pundits, and policy makers in the wake of several bigoted murders and a resurgent white supremacist movement. While hate crimes and hate groups demand continued vigilance, if we are truly to protect our minority citizens, we must shift our most urgent attention from neo-Nazis stockpiling weapons to the seemingly benign gun owners among us—our friends, family, and neighbors—who show no animus toward African Americans and who profess genuine commitments to equality.

Our commonsense narratives about racism and guns—centered on a conception of humans as autonomous, self-transparent, rational actors—are outdated and strongly contradicted by recent evidence from the mind sciences.

Advances in implicit social cognition reveal that most people carry biases against racial minorities beyond their conscious awareness. These biases affect critical behavior, including the actions of individuals performing shooting tasks. In simulations, Americans are faster and more accurate when firing on armed blacks than when firing on armed whites, and faster and more accurate in electing to hold their fire when confronting unarmed whites than when confronting unarmed blacks. Yet, studies suggest that people who carry implicit racial bias may be able to counteract its effects through training.

Given recent expansions in gun rights and gun ownership—and the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of private citizens who already use firearms in self-defense each year—this is reason for serious concern. While police officers often receive substantial simulation training in the use of weapons that, in laboratory experiments, appears to help them control for implicit bias, members of the public who purchase guns are under no similar practice duties.

In addressing this grave danger, states and local governments should require ongoing training courses for all gun owners similar to other existing licensing regimes. Such an approach is unlikely to run into constitutional problems and is more politically tenable than alternative solutions.

To download a copy of the entire paper, click here.  For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Why Race May Influence Us Even When We “Know” It Doesn’t,’ “He’s a Banana-Eating Monkey, but I’m Not a Racist,” Jennifer Eberhardt’s “Policing Racial Bias” – Video,”A Situationist Considers the Implications of Simpson Sentencing,” Guilt and Racial Prejudice,” “Perceptions of Racial Divide,” and “Banaji & Greenwald on Edge – Part IV.”

Posted in Abstracts, Education, Implicit Associations, Law, Public Policy, Situationist Contributors | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mahzarin Banaji at Harvard Law School

Posted by The Situationist Staff on March 10, 2010

On Thursday, March 11th, the HLS Student Association for Law and Mind Sciences (SALMS) is hosting a talk by Harvard psychology professor Mahzarin Banaji entitled “Mind Bugs and the Science of Ordinary Bias.”  Here’s the description.

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How deep are the bounds on human thinking and feeling and how do they shape social judgment?  Our focus has been on the mechanics of unconscious mental processes, with attention to those that operate without conscious awareness, intention, or control.  Most recently, we have worked with a task that reveals unconscious preferences in a rather blunt manner, showing that they can sit, at one level, in contradiction with consciously endorsed preferences.  We use the tool largely for theory testing, focusing on questions about the nature of implicit social cognition and its measurement.  The research tool, in vastly simplified form, is also available to the public at a demonstration website (implicit.harvard.edu), offering estimates of automatic preferences toward social groups, political candidates, and academic orientation (e.g., math/science). From such study of attitudes and beliefs of adults and children, I ask about the social and moral consequences of unintended thought and feeling. My work relies on cognitive/affective behavioral measures and neuroimaging (fMRI) with which I explore the implications for theories of individual responsibility and social justice.

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The event will take place in Pound 107 at Harvard Law School, from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Free Burritos! For more information, e-mail salms@law.harvard.edu.

For a sample of Situationist discussing Professor Banaji’s scholarship, click here.

Posted in Abstracts, Events, Implicit Associations, Situationist Contributors, Social Psychology | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Measuring Implicit Attitudes

Posted by The Situationist Staff on November 28, 2009

From University of Washington News

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Study supports validity of test that indicates widespread unconscious bias

In the decade since the Implicit Association Test was introduced, its most surprising and controversial finding is its indication that about 70 percent of those who took a version of the test that measures racial attitudes have an unconscious, or implicit, preference for white people compared to blacks. This contrasts with figures generally under 20 percent for self report, or survey, measures of race bias.

A new study (pdf here) validates those findings, showing that the Implicit Association Test, a psychological tool, has validity in predicting behavior and, in particular, that it has significantly greater validity than self-reports in the socially sensitive topics of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and age.

The research, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, is an overview and analysis of 122 published and unpublished reports of 184 different research studies. In this analysis, 85 percent of the studies also included self-reporting measures of the type generally used in surveys. This allowed the researchers, headed by University of Washington psychology Professor Anthony Greenwald, to compare the test’s success in predicting social behavior and judgment with the success of self-reports.

“In socially sensitive areas, especially black-white interracial behavior, the test had significantly greater predictive value than self-reports. This finding establishes the Implicit Association Test’s value in research to understand the roots of race and other discrimination,” said Greenwald. “What was especially surprising was how ineffective standard self-report measurers were in the areas in which the test measures have been of greatest interest – predicting interracial behavior.”

Greenwald created the Implicit Association Test in 1998 and he and [Situationist Contributor] Mahzarin Banaji, a Harvard psychology professor, and [Situationist Contributor] Brian Nosek, a University of Virginia associate professor of psychology, further developed it. Since then the test has been used in more than 1,000 research studies around the world. More than 10 million versions of the test have been completed at an Internet site where they are available as a self-administer demonstration.

The research looked at studies covering nine different areas – consumer preference, black-white interracial behavior, personality differences, clinical phenomena, alcohol and drug use, non-racial intergroup behavior, gender and sexual orientation, close relationships and political preferences.

Findings also showed that:

  • Across all nine of these areas, measures of the test were useful in predicting social behavior.
  • Both the test, which is implicit, and self-reports, which are explicit, had predictive validity independent of each other. This suggests the desirability of using both types of measure in surveys and applied research studies.
  • In consumer and political preferences both measures effectively predicted behavior, but self-reports had significantly greater predictive validity.

Studies in the research came from a number of countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Poland and the United States. They looked at such topics as attitudes of undecided voters one-month prior to an Italian election; treatment recommendations by physicians for black and white heart attack victims; and reactions to spiders before and after treatment for arachnophobia, or spider phobia.

“The Implicit Association Test is controversial because many people believe that racial bias is largely a thing of the past. The test’s finding of a widespread, automatic form of race preference violates people’s image of tolerance and is hard for them to accept. When you are unaware of attitudes or stereotypes, they can unintentionally affect your behavior. Awareness can help to overcome this unwanted influence,” said Greenwald.

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To visit the Project Implicit website and find out more about implicit associations, click here.

For a sample of related Situationist posts, see What Are the Legal Implications of Implicit Biases?,” Confronting the Backlash against Implicit Bias,” “Do You Implicitly Prefer Markets or Regulation?,” Legal Academic Backlash – Abstract,” “Naïve Cynicism in Election 2008: Dispositionism v. Situationism?,”  “Implicit Bias and Strawmen.”and “The Situation of Situation in Employment Discrimination Law – Abstract.”  For a list of Situationist posts discussing the research on implicit bias and the IAT, click here.

Posted in Abstracts, Implicit Associations, Situationist Contributors, Social Psychology | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Interior Situation of Trial Judges – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on September 14, 2009

blind-justiceJeffrey Rachlinski , Sheri Lynn Johnson, Andrew Wistrich, and Chris Guthrie, recently posted their fascinating article, “Does Unconscious Racial Bias Affect Trial Judges?” (84 Notre Dame Law Review (2009)) on SSRN.  Here’s the abstract.

* * *

Race matters in the criminal justice system. Black defendants appear to fare worse than similarly situated white defendants. Why? Implicit bias is one possibility. Researchers, using a well-known measure called the implicit association test, have found that most white Americans harbor implicit bias toward Black Americans. Do judges, who are professionally committed to egalitarian norms, hold these same implicit biases? And if so, do these biases account for racially disparate outcomes in the criminal justice system? We explored these two research questions in a multi-part study involving a large sample of trial judges drawn from around the country. Our results – which are both discouraging and encouraging – raise profound issues for courts and society. We find that judges harbor the same kinds of implicit biases as others; that these biases can influence their judgment; but that given sufficient motivation, judges can compensate for the influence of these biases.

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To download the article for free, click here.  For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “What Are the Legal Implications of Implicit Biases?,” “Brooks on the Situation of Judging,” and “The Situation of Judicial Activism.”  For a list of Situationist posts discussing the research on implicit bias and the IAT, click here.

Posted in Implicit Associations, Law | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Gender Images and Implicit Attitudes

Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 27, 2008

A new study from three social psychologists at the University of Granada in Spain examines how our minds categorize implicit attitudes about the two genders. Soledad de Lemus Martín, Miguel Moya Morales, and Juan Lupiáñez Castillo studied how an image of man connects to implicit attitudes relating to competence, while an image of a woman tends to relate to those relating to social skills.

A news story on the study further summarizes the study’s findings. Below we excerpt a portion of the story.

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[W]hen we see someone in a concrete social context, the qualities associated with competence (efficacy, motivation, intelligence and their antonyms) are more activated when we judge men or women in their traditional roles (the man in an office as a leader and the woman as a housewife). However, the qualities related to sociability (kindness, understanding, sensibility and their antonyms) are notably more activated in counter-stereotype contexts (a man doing the housework and a woman as a leader).

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For the rest of the story, click here. For other Situationist posts relating to gender and psychology, click here.

Posted in Implicit Associations, Social Psychology | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

 
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