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Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  2,179 ratings  ·  303 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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Susan Phillips It's very research based. So if you are comfortable and interested in reading about brain research and psychology, then it's pretty enjoyable. The…moreIt's very research based. So if you are comfortable and interested in reading about brain research and psychology, then it's pretty enjoyable. The subtitle is really perfcet- because it's not about Racism, it's about why our brains have evolved to protect us in certain ways and now those animal skills have made us pretty uncivilized, often times without seeing it. (less)

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 ·  2,179 ratings  ·  303 reviews

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Kaethe Douglas
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." Individuals pick up these biases from their cultures. As society has evolved (which, looking at daily headlines, is a questionable assumption), prejudice/bias is now considered "b
This was an all-faculty read at my school. To be honest, if you've got any passing familiarity with the general coverage of issues of race, racism and identity going around in the press for the last several years, you're likely going to have heard much of this before. Nonetheless, it does gather a lot of what you've likely read together and put together in a lucid, linear structure, walking the reader through neuropsychological structures that can lead to negative stereotypes forming, from our b ...more
Nov 24, 2012 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
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, but it’s a few years old, so unfortunately didn’t include the latest bias research.

There wasn’t new information. If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, and probably a few other books, you won’t likely gain much from this one. 3.5 stars.
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"
Jun 11, 2014 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.
Justin Morgan
May 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
Interesting but repetitive. It was repetitive and there were some good observations but it was very repetitive. Didn't finish the book.
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
Feb 08, 2015 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
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 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
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cmc
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Jan 29, 2017 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
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, bard, 2015
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...
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Full disclosure, I could only skim. This is very basic and workable for someone with almost no knowledge of implicit associations, equity, or modern life. I’m assuming three stars for someone new to this material.
Feb 18, 2017 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
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was assigned parts of this for orientation at school, and finished it mostly out of spite. Implicit bias is a totally worthwhile topic, but this book was just not great. At one point it suggests that racial stereotypes are maybe ok when they’re positive stereotypes. At another, the author tells a racist joke to make the point that things can be simultaneously offensive and funny, or something...? (The joke was not funny). A bizarre chart categorizes gay and lesbian as genders. A throwaway joke ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I "wooooow!!"ed so many times! I've studied this for yearz, but I still was surprised by some of the findings detailed. Like people will sacrifice $4000/year to have a male boss even though they THINK they have no preference?? Or that people associate famous White foreigners with "American" more easily than famous Asian-Americans with American. As in Hugh Grant is more American than Connie Chung. Yikes!!
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is an excellent introduction to the concept of implicit bias and Implicit Association Tests. I've taken several IATs online, and I have some serious work ahead of me to counteract the implicit biases I have. The book is written in very accessible language and makes its point well. Don't stop reading at the end of the text--the appendices may be even more crucial than the book itself! I highly recommend this book.
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this in preparation for a presentation I'm giving, and I found it interesting and informative. If you're already familiar with the Implicit Association Test (IAT), then much of this book will be a review. But it's hard to dock the book stars for that when its authors are the creators of the IAT. Although most of this research wasn't new to me, it's still important.

If you're not familiar with implicit bias, I'd highly encourage you to read this book.
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a great book for someone (white) who is just beginning to think about racism. The instruments the authors use are intriguing for what they reveal about unconscious biases, and the basic revelations about the connections between those biases and racial (and other) stereotypes are solid. However, for someone who is looking for meatier fare about racism--especially its embeddedness in social institutions--this book will leave you hungering for more.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I appreciated the chance to think about our unconscious biases, and how they might shape our attitudes and relationships. These are undoubtedly important ideas. But the book felt repetitive, and I didn't feel that I got a whole book's worth of insight out of reading it.
Mikayla Habibi
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Not a lot of new information when it comes to my scope of knowledge, but enjoyed the studies and little activities nonetheless. I don't wanna downplay it because it's an important read for sure, but def. okay to skim through some parts.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I expected more from this book, but it was still good. I liked the differentiation between explicit and implicit and the discussion on how we can have two different beliefs.
Megan Mcewen
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really interesting research which will (hopefully) inspire the reader to take multiple Implicit Association Tests. Everyone should take those tests; the results are invariably eye-opening.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Contrary to some beliefs, the battle against racism in the USA is still being fought. It is not and never has been a "one-and-done" effort. One of the more crucial things people must understand is how pervasive racism is. Our country was built on it, thrived on it, and still does.

For generations, the rhetoric of racism was painted in broad, binary strokes: racism - bad, anti-racism - good; racist - bad, non-racist - good; torches, swastikas, white hoods, ugly words, overt discrimination, violenc
Mohammad Ali Abedi
Jun 13, 2016 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
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
The book started off engaging but got increasingly repetitive, dry, and technical as it progressed. I don't think anything "new" or groundbreaking is written about here; implicit bias has existed in psychology for a long time and, coupled with the repeated urgings of the authors to go to the IAT site to take the test, the content just became cyclical. The takeaway: whether we are aware of it or not, our interactions with others are tainted by our unconscious preconceptions about people, and thos ...more
Steven Kaminski
Dec 16, 2016 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
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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
“As psychologists, we have learned that if we study hidden bias by the traditional method of looking for expressions of negativity or hostility directed against out-groups, if we measure it by counting the number of out-group churches or mosques that are burned down, we may fail to see the far more pervasive ways in which hidden biases maintain the status quo, depriving those on the bottom rungs of society of the resources available to the more privileged by birth and status.” 0 likes
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