Implicit Bias and the Pushback from the Left
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law
November 18, 2010
St. Louis University Law Journal, Vol. 54, p. 1139, 2010
UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 10-33
Over the past three decades, the mind sciences have provided remarkable insights about how our brains process social categories. For example, scientists have discovered that implicit biases - in the form of stereotypes and attitudes that we are unaware of, do not consciously intend, and might reject upon conscious self-reflection - exist and have wide-ranging behavioral consequences. Such findings destabilize our self-serving self-conceptions as bias-free. Not surprisingly, there has been backlash from the political Right. This Article examines some aspects of the more surprising pushback from the Left.
Part I briefly explains how new findings in the mind sciences, especially Implicit Social Cognition, are incorporated into the law, legal scholarship, and legal institutions, under the banner of “behavioral realism.” Part II describes the pushback from the Left. Part III responds by suggesting that our deepest understanding of social hierarchy and discrimination requires analysis at multiple layers of knowledge. Instead of trading off knowledge, for example, at the cognitive layer for the sociological layer (or vice versa), we should seek understanding at each layer, and then interpenetrate the entire stack.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12
Keywords: implicit bias, implicit association test, IAT, behavioral realism, scientific exceptionalism, backlash
Date posted: November 20, 2010 ; Last revised: December 4, 2010