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Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  458 ratings  ·  100 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
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Delacorte Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Dec 17, 2012 Kurt rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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

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 that
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 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
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
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"
Dana DesJardins
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
Nenia Campbell
You can read more reviews on my blog, The Armchair Librarian!

The thing about psychology books is, there's a lot of overlap. We only have so many studies to choose from, and a lot of the really interesting ones, like Asch's Obedience Study, Milgram's Deference to Authority Study, and Zimbardo's Prison Experiment were later deemed unethical because of the psychological turmoil caused.

I know right? And to think, we would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling humanists.

I was
Max Stone
The content is great and interesting. To steal from another review that summarized it better than I could:

"(a) Humans are really good at detecting patterns
(b) All cultures include assumptions about groups
(c) Humans absorb these assumptions as implicit associations regardless of their explicit beliefs
(d) More privileged people grossly underestimate the harm from small acts of prejudice against less privileged people
(e) Good people try to recognize these mindbugs and seek ways to work around
Morgan Blackledge
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.
Pete Welter
The authors of this book are the original researchers behind the Implicit Association Test (IAT) - a technique for sussing out our subconscious biases. Although the book obviously explains it in great detail, the essence of the test relies on the fact that we recall things we categorize closely more quickly that things that we don't see as similar. So, an example they use is that we more closely associate positive words with flowers and negative words with insects. That might seem trivial, but i ...more
You’re not racist, right? I mean, if given two equally qualified candidates for a job you were hiring for, you’d be just as likely to give it to the Black person as the White person, right? And you’re in favor of same sex marriage, so you definitely don’t give any preference to straight people, right?

Not so fast. The premise of this book – which is backed up by some pretty solid science – is that we all hold biases in our unconscious minds that influence what we do. Because they are unconscious
John Wood
This book delves into our psychological blind spot, the subconcious biases that can affect our actions. Despite what we consciously think, this blind spot also controls our emotions and actions. The authors are noted authorities on the subject and developed a test, the IAT or implicit association test, to explore this phenomenom. There are different tests on many aspects such as racial, gender and age bias. The reader can take the provided tests from the book or go to The b ...more
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.
Doug Bonar
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
Given the moderate ratings for this book on Goodreads, I was not expecting great scholarship, but neither was I expecting a sophomoric effort. It's ultimately a treatise on how racially biased America still is. I'll offer just a couple of many areas where they falter. In the beginning, they have the reader take some tests that are intended to show hidden bias. Assumptions are made about the speed in which a person chooses a pairing of objects with what the testers have designated as positive or ...more
Nov 09, 2013 Carly marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jim Razinha
I participated in a workshop on Inclusion and Diversity and the presenters quoted from this book, so I found it and read it. Mixed thoughts. I've seen the IAT (Implicit Association Test) cited in other works and was familiar with the tests and the conclusions...this pretty much beat the subject into the ground. Okay, okay! Even if we don't think we have biases, the data show we do, and if we do acknowledge we have biases, the data show they are worse than we think.

The best takeaway from this bo
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.
The Implicit Association Test is something I think every able human should take multiple times in their lives. This book explains why it's so important. It's not the most engaging read, but I also hate it when nonfiction science books rely too heavily on fluffy anecdotes to hold attention, so I'd rather it be a little dry.

Although I know the authors were writing for general audience and didn't want to deter folks from receiving the message, sometimes I wish they would have gone in a little harde
I won this book on a goodreads giveaway, and am excited to start reading this book! Review to follow once I finish it.

12/31/12. Finished this book today while waiting in the airport for my flight. Let's just say this book changed the way I observed the interactions between different people, especially those of different races. It is rather disturbing to learn from this book that even the average person--the author's designated "good people"--favor one race or gender or stereotype over another wi
I won this book on a goodreads giveaway, and am excited to start reading this book! Review to follow once I finish it.

12/31/12. Finished this book today while waiting in the airport for my flight. Let's just say this book changed the way I observed the interactions between different people, especially those of different races. It is rather disturbing to learn from this book that even the average person--the author's designated "good people"--favor one race or gender or stereotype over another wi
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
The strongest points of this book were, in my opinion of course, the infinite numbers of clear examples, the wide number of tests, that I was not able to do because it was an e-book, and last but not least the fact that in the end the author didn't give any solutions, because truly there aren't. I already knew many of the things that were written of this book because I'm a psychotherapist, but still some things were very thorough and clearer for me later. I'm happy that I read this book!

I punti
Snuggles with Rainbows
Mar 18, 2013 Snuggles with Rainbows rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: psychologists, people, curious minds, kids, adults, and birds
This is going to be a pretty short review, since there really isn’t that much to talk about with this book. From the synopsis you can tell this is a pretty straight forward psychology book that exposes all our preconceived prejudices against others. It shows us all the split second judgments we make on a daily basis. It also gives the reader evidence as to why we assume these things the way we do.

While this was all fun and illuminating, I just wasn’t impressed by
it. All the major points in the
A copy of this book was provided free via Edelweiss for the purpose of review.

Blindspot is an interesting glimpse into an uncomfortable subject. As per the subtitle, Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald seek to expose, explore, and explain so-called "hidden biases"; that is, the biases unknowingly harbored by those individuals who consider themselves unprejudiced or even advocate against prejudice in its varied forms.

When many Americans, at least, think of prejudice, they think of the thr
I have heard of the implicit association test for several years. This book describes the test and what it tells us about the unconscious biases that are embedded in our brains. And how those biases affect behavior. A few observations:

-I took every IAT listed in the book. I knew what the test was measuring and was frustrated by my lack of control over my brain's functioning. The first test is an example that measures associations between insects, flowers, pleasant words, and unpleasant words. I w
This book describes the use of a new tool that purports to identify hidden, subconscious biases that even good, well intentioned people might have, and then discusses what to do about it if you have them. I thought the parts on their association test were very interesting, and went to their website and took a number of the tests and the results were very interesting. It turns out I have strong preferences for flowers over insects, and for the arts over math. Not too earth-shattering. Most of the ...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
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