#60: "Unconscious" Bias? with Adam Hahn

Opinion Science

Apr 11 2022 • 48 mins


Adam Hahn spends a lot of time thinking about how well people know their own biases. Sure, people often refer to "implicit bias" as social biases that exist unconsciously. But do they really? How strongly can we claim we're unaware of these attitudes and is there any reason to think people can readily tell you what their gut reactions are when they encounter people of different racial, gender, and religious identities? Adam's a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath.

A few things that come up in our conversation:

  • In the intro, I talk about the work of Russ Fazio (e.g., Fazio et al., 1986) and John Bargh (e.g., Bargh et al., 1992) looking into the automatic activation of attitudes. I also highlight Greenwald and Banaji's (1995) presentation of "implicit social cognition." (The quote about using "implicit" to refer to processes outside of awareness is from a 2001 chapter by Banaji and Tesser.) Also, big tip of the hat to Adam Hahn for helping me organize the structure of the introduction.
  • You can take the Implicit Association Test (IAT) at "Project Implicit"
  • Whether implicit bias is unconscious depends on how you define "unconscious" (Hahn & Goedderz, 2020)
  • People can predict their scores on the IAT (Hahn et al., 2014; Hahn & Gawronski, 2019)
  • People's predictions of their IAT performance is predictable (Rivera & Hahn, 2019)
  • For details on some of the newer (unpublished as of yet) work that Adam talks about, you might enjoy this 2021 talk he gave at Université Grenoble Alpes.


News clips at the top of the show were sourced from the following: NPR [1] [2], 5News, CBSNews, Devex, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, & The Young Turks.

For a transcript of this episode, visit: http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/episode/unconscious-bias-with-adam-hahn/

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