Implicit bias

  • Project Implicit, Implicit Association Test (IAT).

    Project Implicit is a non-profit US based organization developed by researchers interested in implicit social cognition - thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. The goal of the organization is to educate the public about hidden biases and to provide a “virtual laboratory” for collecting data on the Internet.

    The researchers have developed the Implicit Association Test (IAT). The IAT measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. The IAT may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about. Their test is available on the website:

    It is important to note that since the development of the Implicit Association Test in the mid-1990s, numerous studies have been conducted by researchers in a range of disciplines endeavouring to gauge the accuracy and efficacy of the test. Whilst it is widely acknowledged as a useful measure of implicit bias, researchers caution that it be used as part of a multipronged measurement strategy.
  • Staats, Cheryl et al, ‘State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review 2015’ (Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, 2015).
    On pp.4-5, there is a fact sheet debunking myths around implicit bias.
  • Staats, Cheryl et al, ‘State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review, 2016 Edition’ (Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, 2016).
    There is an up-to-date fact sheet on implicit bias on pp.14-15.
  • Unconscious Bias Fundamentals for Legal Practitioners

    One hour online CPD module (available for purchase).

    ‘Lawyers typically make a multitude of decisions daily that affect themselves and others, and when unconscious biases are in play, the outcomes may be less than optimum and often contrary to one’s intentions. In this interactive course, practitioners will learn about the concept of unconscious bias, how it affects their business and industry, and will equip themselves with tools to increase their effectiveness in decision making situations. Videos, case studies and revealing questions engage the learner in this relevant and fast paced program.’
  • Ward, Stephanie and Jeffrey Rachlinkski, ‘How can lawyers fight implicit bias?’ (podcast 34 minutes with transcript) (American Bar Association Journal, 23 January 2017).
    In this podcast Stephanie Ward interviews Professor Jeffrey Rachlinski of the Cornell Law School. He holds a JD and a PhD in Psychology from Stanford University. He studies the influence of human psychology on decision-making by courts, administrative agencies, and regulated communities. In this interview he discusses a research project involving American trial judges that analysed their decision-making and measured their implicit bias. Specifically, his research measured the implicit connection judges make between African-American faces and positive or negative imagery, and white faces and positive and negative imagery. They found that the judges, like most adults, more closely associate African-American faces with negative concepts and more closely associate white faces with positive concepts.