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Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People Hardcover – February 12, 2013
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“Accessible and authoritative . . . While we may not have much power to eradicate our own prejudices, we can counteract them. The first step is to turn a hidden bias into a visible one. . . . What if we’re not the magnanimous people we think we are?”—The Washington Post
“Banaji and Greenwald deserve a major award for writing such a lively and engaging book that conveys an important message: Mental processes that we are not aware of can affect what we think and what we do. Blindspot is one of the most illuminating books ever written on this topic.”—Elizabeth F. Loftus, Ph.D., distinguished professor, University of California, Irvine; past president, Association for Psychological Science; author of Eyewitness Testimony
“A wonderfully cogent, socially relevant, and engaging book that helps us think smarter and more humanely. This is psychological science at its best, by two of its shining stars.”—David G. Myers, professor, Hope College, and author of Intuition: Its Powers and Perils
“[The authors’] work has revolutionized social psychology, proving that—unconsciously—people are affected by dangerous stereotypes.”—Psychology Today
“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
“A stimulating treatment that should help readers deal with irrational biases that they would otherwise consciously reject.”—Kirkus Reviews
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Top Customer Reviews
On this principle, the authors explore the Implicit Association Test to determine what other concepts people's brains have developed in associated groups. For example, you may see a list of words, and for every word that is either a Flower or a Pleasant word, you mark the circle on the left, and for every word that is a Bug or an Unpleasant word, you mark the circle on the right. More likely than not, you will be a little faster at this task than if the words were grouped differently. Where the test gets interesting and psychologically useful, of course, is where it touches on issues of race/gender/age/sexuality/etc. Most people, especially in the relatively sophisticated target audience of this book, honestly insist that they do not discriminate, so the benefit of this testing method is that it unearths biases about which the subject is unaware.Read more ›
The authors are the world leading experts on the rapid, non-conscious judgments that people make about other people and themselves. Measures of these automatic/implicit/non-conscious mental processes increased exponentially as a result of their groundbreaking work. Readers unfamiliar with their research are offered a number of different tests where they can assess their own hidden biases. I suspect many readers will be surprised, intrigued, and entertained by these assessment devices. They add a new dimension to understanding the subtleties of how one can be vehement about liberal egalitarian values but still hold non-conscious preferences for young white heterosexual men.
The chapters are brief and the prose is fluid. There are virtually no redundancies in this small volume. Unlike most psychologists and behavioral economists, Banaji and Greenwald do not go into painstaking detail about the methodology of specific studies.Read more ›
Describing how the Implicit Association Test (IAT) they've devised can probe the nature of such associations, the authors go on to report that majority of the people who have taken their tests, while describing themselves as having no conscious ill-feelings towards any particular group of people, have been shown to have stereotypes of blacks, homosexuals, and the aged that are less positive than their stereotypes of whites, heterosexuals, and the young, respectively.
The authors believe that these findings indicate that their IAT methodology can expose hidden biases that people have against certain groups of people, but they won't go so far as equating such hidden biases with prejudice. They do think, however, that having such hidden biases is not a good thing, and that the more we can minimize the role that such biases can play in various kinds of decision making, the better off we can be as a society. Having said that, however, they acknowledge that that is easier said than done, because the problem is currently a very difficult one to tackle.
I feel that this book leaves too many questions unanswered, and when you discount the fact that people can harbor unconscious or hidden biases against blacks, homosexuals, and the elderly as something most people already know, then all you have left is a description of a research methodology that so far has mostly been used to infer stereotypical biases quite pervasive in our society (and, therefore, easy to demonstrate and document), but not so much to provide a better understanding of how those biases really differ from prejudice, and how to get in front of those biases in order to lessen their negative impact on society.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing book. I wasn't sure if it would be worth reading. I started and finished it in one day, never put it down. It's a fun book to read and contemplate.Published 12 days ago by Christopher Godfrey
This book arrived very quickly and was in good shape. It was not exactly what I expected, but I have benefited from reading it. Thanks, EMunseyPublished 15 days ago by Ernestine C. Munsey
Are you prejudiced? The answer pretty surely is a resounding "Yes!" This book will show you how to overcome the prejudices lurking in our blind spots. Read morePublished 18 days ago by mathete5
Great read. Loved the in-book opportunities to take the 'quizzes'. Well-written and easy to read. Fair balance of detail on topics without too much depth or not doing justice. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Fascinating and worthwhile read. The world would be better off if everyone read it.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very insightful. This book is challenging me to reexamine my assumptions and perceptions about the world around me.Published 3 months ago by pookienem
Worth reading for self reflection and review of research on the topic of racism and other biases people unknowingly hold.Published 4 months ago by Robin Hartman