Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Banaji, Mahzarin R.
Location Harvard University
Primary Field Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
Secondary Field Social and Political Sciences
 Election Citation
Banaji developed the measurement and meaning of implicit associations, especially between social categories and evaluative valence. Experiments demonstrate the spontaneity of implicit associations and their bounded controllability, plus their early childhood origins and neural correlates. System-level theory, law reviews, and public outreach show their political, ethical, legal, and practical implications.
 Research Interests
Mahzarin Banaji's laboratory is focused on the study of implicit social cognition. The study of human cognition has relied on methods that rely on introspective access for over a hundred years, since the inception of the science in the late 19th century. As technologies became available beginning in the 1980s, scientists began to observe mental processes and mental content that can reside outside conscious awareness and conscious control. Banaji's contributions have included the application of a method, the Implicit Association Test to study the automatic reliance on social categories like age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, social class, religion and many other such features on decisions about the individual - in particular, on decisions about their goodness and competence. Banaji showed that those who appear not to harbor any explicit prejudices nevertheless demonstrate biased responses on the IAT that show preference for own group or the dominant group, that members of disadvantaged groups have often implicitly internalized negative beliefs about their groups, that children at a very early age show evidence of such group-based preferences, that neuroimaging can show correspondence between brain activity and behavior, and that implicit attitudes are malleable and open to change. Banaji and colleagues maintain a website implicit.harvard.edu at which interested individuals can learn about their implicit biases, and she is now involved in a program of education called outsmartinghumanminds.org.

 
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