From Learning to Doing: The Effects of Educating Individuals on the Pervasiveness of Bias

Joy-Gaba, Jennifer Alana, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Nosek, Brian, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

Despite many trying to be egalitarian in social judgment, discrimination still occurs. One reason for the discrepancy between values and behavior may be the "bias blind spot" (Pronin & Kugler, 2007), which suggests that individuals more easily recognize bias in others than they recognize in themselves. Many people believe that they are objective and impartial and, as a consequence, falsely conclude that they are immune to biased judgments based on social group memberships. The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate whether providing experiential education about one‟s own biases can shift beliefs about bias and social behavior. Study 1 and 2 examined the immediate and long-term impact on beliefs about bias of an interactive lecture about how biases are an ordinary part of human thinking. Study 2 also assessed whether bias education predicts change in social judgments in which biases could be expressed and whether the components of beliefs about bias relate to other social attitudes and beliefs. Study 3 and 4 experimentally compared a shortened version of the automatic bias education to already established interventions. Finally, Studies 5-6 explored whether the shortened version of the education was effective. Results revealed that the original automatic bias education, and not the shortened version, was effective in changing people‟s beliefs about bias in the short and long-term. However, this automatic bias education was not able to influence participants‟ automatic and self-reported racial attitudes or judgments in a stereotyping task.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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