Policy Implications of Implicit Social Cognition
Social Issues and Policy Review, 6, 112-145.
31 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2011 Last revised: 5 May 2012
Date Written: July 12, 2011
Basic research in implicit social cognition demonstrates that thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness or conscious control can influence perception, judgment and action. Implicit measures reveal that people possess implicit attitudes and stereotypes about social groups that are often distinct from their explicitly endorsed beliefs and values. The evidence that behavior can be influenced by implicit social cognition contrasts with social policies that assume that people know and control the causes of their behavior. We consider the present state of evidence for implicit social cognition and its implications for social policy. We conclude that consideration of implicit social cognition can improve policy, and that most policy use of implicit measures as selection or evaluation devices is not easily justified.
Keywords: implicit social cognition, Implicit Association Test, evaluative priming, validity, public policy, stereotypes, discrimination
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