In this article, we respond at length to recent critiques of research on implicit bias, especially studies using the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Tetlock and Mitchell (2009) claim that "there is no evidence that the IAT reliably predicts class-wide discrimination on tangible outcomes in any setting," accuse their colleagues of violating "the injunction to separate factual from value judgments," adhering blindly to a "statist interventionist" ideology, and of conducting a witch-hunt against implicit racists, sexists, and others. These and other charges are specious. Far from making "extraordinary claims" that "require extraordinary evidence," researchers have identified the existence and consequences of implicit bias through well-established methods based upon principles of cognitive psychology that have been developed in nearly a century's worth of work. We challenge the blanket skepticism and organizational complacency advocated by Tetlock and Mitchell and summarize 10 recent studies that no manager (or managerial researcher) should ignore. These studies reveal that students, nurses, doctors, police officers, employment recruiters, and many others exhibit implicit biases with respect to race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, social status, and other distinctions. Furthermore-and contrary to the emphatic assertions of the critics-participants' implicit associations do predict socially and organizationally significant behaviors, including employment, medical, and voting decisions made by working adults.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management