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Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  1,050 Ratings  ·  179 Reviews
I know my own mind.
I am able to assess others in a fair and accurate way.

These self-perceptions are challenged by leading psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald as they explore the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nati
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Delacorte Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Nov 24, 2012 Kurt rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kurt by: Amazon Vine
Your brain associates concepts, and it doesn't always tell you. Drs. Banaji and Greenwald give a great illustration to introduce the testing method that forms the basis for most of this book: imagine that you have a deck of shuffled cards, and you're told to separate them into two piles. Hearts and Diamonds go to your left, and Spades and Clubs go to your right. You can probably do that really quickly, without even having to think, since your brain can just associate the pairs into "Red goes lef ...more
Apr 24, 2013 Kaethe rated it it was amazing
The short form:

Humans are really good at detecting patterns
All cultures include assumptions about groups
Humans absorb these assumptions as implicit associations regardless of their explicit beliefs
More privileged people grossly underestimate the harm from small acts of prejudice against less privileged people
Good people recognize these mindbugs and seek ways to work around them

Try and be excellent to each other

Library copy
I made it almost halfway through the book and then realized I am under no obligation to finish something I find this dull and obvious.

Your Cliff Notes for this book: Humans like categories and are very good at recognizing patterns. Humans live in cultures. Cultures tend to be homogeneous and distrust "otherness." Humans pick up these biases. As society has evolved (which, looking at daily headlines, is a questionable assumption), prejudice/bias is now considered "bad." We know consciously
Peter Mcloughlin
This is a book about the unconscious biases of good people. The book centers around the results from implicit association tests. Many of us in 21st century America are conscious egalitarians. We consciously believe it is wrong to discriminate on the basis of race,class, gender or sexual orientation. However unfortunately we carry unconscious biases which we largely have no control over. These biases show up on an implicity association test. the test usually involve rapidly responding and clicki ...more
Jul 23, 2013 Koroviev rated it really liked it
This book, I believe must be read by almost anyone who is unaware of the idea of Implicit Association (as I was). The main text is only 167 pages, the rest is Appendices, Notes and Index. For the 167 pages of text, the information content is very good.

At the heart of it, the book explains the presence of blindspots, i.e. presence of implicit associations that our brain makes, without our conscious awareness, between groups and certain characteristics/properties. Such unconscious bias may (and u
Jan 06, 2013 Danielle rated it liked it

This book is a result of the research of psychologists Banaji and Greenwald using the Implicit Association Test (more information about the test and the actual tests are available on their website They examine hidden biases people may have regarding thing such as race, gender, and age as well as a number of other things. They look at what those hidden biases may mean in regards to our behavior and what if anything we can do to guard against them. It's defi
Feb 08, 2015 Ariah rated it it was amazing
For anyone who likes the genre of books like Freakonomics and The Tipping Point this is a great read. And for anyone else whose interested in the intersection of science and behavior with issues like structural racism and sexism (and plenty of other 'isms'), I'd highly recommend this book.

Implicit-Association Test (IAT) is a relatively new social psychology test designed to "detect the strength of a person's automatic association between mental representations of objects in memory." It makes a
Jan 29, 2017 Jane rated it really liked it
A great and fairly quick read for 2017. This book focuses on out hidden biases, those that operate below our level of consciousness. It includes instruments to test your own hidden biases on a number of marginalized groups, race foremost among them. Most of us, including members of marginalized groups, will discover that as much as we proclaim our commitment to equality for all, our unconscious brain is operating under the surface trying to reinforce systemic biases in our culture and institutio ...more
Jun 11, 2014 Alice rated it it was ok
Interesting insights, boring delivery. Half the book is about racial stereotyping, which seems to be a hot media issue these days. You might think that this book about how everyone harbors some level/version of prejudice, but it's actually about how YOU harbor some level/version of prejudice. Even if you don't know it.
Feb 18, 2017 RuthAnn rated it really liked it
Would recommend

This book is about evidence-based studies about implicit association/unconscious bias/cognitive dissonance, and although it is not quite popular science, the tone is conversational and accessible. The authors fully concede their own biases, and that helps humanize the findings. Also, taking the Implicit Association Tests that the authors developed is VERY eye-opening. Unfortunately, the book is short on solutions (because are there really any?), but it's worth the read to get a be
I highly recommend this book. It explores in-depth the finding that unconscious attitudes can influence people's actions without their knowledge. Using data obtained using the Implicit Association Test (developed at Harvard), the authors make a convincing case to convince the reader that, yes, you probably are prejudiced in ways you don't know, and yes, those prejudices impact your actions in ways which would horrify you if you knew about it.

It's another way to understand what "white privilege"
Mohammad Ali Abedi
Jun 13, 2016 Mohammad Ali Abedi rated it liked it
These guys developed a test called the IAT test. IAT stands for Implicit Association Test, which is to test how you react to something unconsciously, mainly in terms of stereotypes. The test tries to see how we associate positive or negative words with different stereotypes. For example, it tells us to click a certain keyboard (if the test is online) button for any word on the screen that is positive (such as good, wonderful) and then do the same for a picture of a black person (we should press ...more
Dana DesJardins
Sep 05, 2013 Dana DesJardins rated it really liked it
While not well written (always a deterrent in recommending a book), this cites study after study to explain why we THINK we think one way, but actually think another. The subtitle about "hidden biases" will frighten off anyone who hasn't already become aware that what they wish they believed is not always consistent with how they act. Using layman's analyses of evolutionary biology, the authors explain how humanity has been predisposed to prefer those "like us," then exposes how arbitrary our de ...more
Mark Ballinger
Nov 24, 2016 Mark Ballinger rated it it was ok
Recommended to Mark by: Thurgood Marshall staff
Shelves: psych, r-e-work
The biggest conclusion of this book (implicit bias is pervasive and directly builds racial discrimination) is, of course, important. The Implicit Association Tests that are the data for this book are pretty eye-opening.

But, I had several problems with assumptions, attitudes, and tone of this book. Too many of my margin notes are "WTF?!", when they casually drop in a racist joke to unpack laughing/cringing, or have a table of human characteristics with gender choices of male, female, gay, lesbian
Raman K
Apr 18, 2016 Raman K rated it liked it
Blindspot was an intriguing novel. I had gone to a conference that was led by this author and so I found that a lot of the exercises and examples in the book I had already done them. It was a really good refresher and I think it’s interesting to learn about your own biases. It is very educational.
Mar 22, 2015 Anna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, 2015, bard
I love this book.
Iʻve listened to it a few times, while doing other stuff, and with pretty fast pace.
So much insight. Iʻll listen to it again a few more times over time since I no longer need to worry about returning some forms of library books on time...
Nov 09, 2013 Carly marked it as to-read
I've heard Dr Banaji give a talk.
It was kind of totally awesome.
I put this one on hold as the next of my Popcorn* Popsci books.

*Light, fluffy, a ton of butter and seasoning and not all that much substance, but utterly addictive.
Sep 21, 2013 Allison rated it really liked it
Fascinating. Much of the research I've read in bits and pieces elsewhere and this compilation held together nicely. It's important to be aware of our hidden biases.
Steven Kaminski
Dec 16, 2016 Steven Kaminski rated it it was amazing
Compelling book that focuses in particular on our own self awareness & unconscious bias. The fact that 75% of African Americans feel more comfortable & at ease around Whites than blacks was stunning to me. In the book they interviewed Malcolm Gladwell who is biracial & after taking the tests it told him he was more comfortable around whites even though his mother is black!
But this book steps into unconscious biases that we think we can overcome (and we are aware we do) but that for m
Bonnie Brandt
Dec 01, 2016 Bonnie Brandt rated it liked it
This averages to a 3 for me. The first part of the book I would rate as a 4, but I seemed to lose interest as I went along. Then the last two chapters that summarized the findings of all the studies were very interesting to me.

This book discusses implicit bias. Biases we don't know we have. Scholars have developed an ingenious method of testing implicit bias. You can take the tests online and choose from several different bias tests like race, body weight, attractiveness, and many others.

When I
Nov 28, 2012 Gaisce rated it really liked it
People, even people with the best of intentions, have biases. We say that justice is blind because we know how sight might betray us with instinctive acknowledgement of things unnecessary and detracting from the scales of equal consideration, thus deceiving the principle we hope to uphold. But what happens when that prejudice goes beyond your senses and resides in your mind, in the dark unconscious recesses that even your consciousness can't rationalize away?

These "mindbugs" are everywhere, Ban
Jan 08, 2017 Lolita rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cmc
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann Michael
Nov 19, 2016 Ann Michael rated it really liked it
I have been familiar with IATs for some time, and have taken a few of them (and "failed" at least one that distressed me). This book is a good introduction to the social and psychological science behind "hidden bias" and a reminder that we may not know ourselves as well as we think we do.
Feb 22, 2017 C. rated it really liked it
Informative, particularly the appendixes. Admit there were some bits I didn't quite comprehend, but 98% of it I did. Very interesting and thought-provoking read. I seldom read books of this nature, but I'm glads I picked this up at the library.
Mohamed Al Sayyah
Jan 16, 2017 Mohamed Al Sayyah rated it it was amazing
النقطة العمياء، التحيزات الخفية للناس الطيبين

كتاب رائع جداً، يكشف لنا جميعاً أننا متحيزون ضد السود والمرأة والأديان المختلفة، حتى لو كنا في الحقيقة نعتقد عكس

أنصح بقراءته وبشدة
Mar 18, 2017 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An eye-opening and accessible overview of scientific research about our implicit biases and their effects.
Morgan Blackledge
May 25, 2014 Morgan Blackledge rated it really liked it
Man alive this is a challenging book. Not in the usual "hard to understand" sense, it's actually written in crisp, plain language. This book is challenging because of the difficult, but important realizations it engenders.

This book challenges the seductive and deeply intuitive sense of certainty most (if not all) of us posses in regards to our own and our fellow human beings behavior. That being said, it's a deeply gratifying read in so far as it is quite enlightening when all is said and done.
Jan 13, 2017 Katherine rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
An interesting and sometimes startling exploration of the biases that we all have but are largely unaware of. The research explored is interesting, but the truly startling aspect of this book are the Implicit Association Tests in the book and at Project Implicit. A truly fascinating, and sometimes disheartening, subject.
Mar 06, 2017 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Must read!
Doug Bonar
Jan 14, 2014 Doug Bonar rated it liked it
The tests are clever Skeptic that I am, I wonder how stable they are to changes in the word lists and categories. (I understand that in specific studies that type of variation might be hard, but it seems like the web site could provide many minor variants on the tests. Since the claim is that the tests are stable with respect to knowing how the test works, it should be possible to get some people to take multiple versions of the same basic test to establish links between them.) That's a quibble ...more
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“Those studies showed that White Americans consistently received more help than Black Americans. The only harm done to Black Americans in those studies was the consequence of inaction—the absence of helping. This left them without advantages that were received by the White Americans who were, by contrast, helped. We can call this hidden discrimination, in the same way that the discrimination displayed in the story of Carla’s hand surgery is hidden. Discrimination is hard to perceive because it does not present itself in obvious comparisons, where we must decide in a single moment whether to help one or the other. These behaviors happen in sequence, allowing the fact that one was helped and the other not to remain in our blindspot.” 1 likes
“the hidden race bias revealed by the Race IAT is unwelcome news to many who receive an automatic White preference result from the test, and it is probably also distressing to these same people to learn now that the Race IAT is a moderate predictor of racially discriminatory behavior. Included” 0 likes
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