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Policy Implications of Implicit Social Cognition

Brian A. Nosek

University of Virginia

Rachel Riskind

affiliation not provided to SSRN

July 12, 2011

Social Issues and Policy Review, 6, 112-145.

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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 31

Keywords: implicit social cognition, Implicit Association Test, evaluative priming, validity, public policy, stereotypes, discrimination

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Date posted: July 13, 2011 ; Last revised: May 5, 2012

Suggested Citation

Nosek, Brian A. and Riskind, Rachel, Policy Implications of Implicit Social Cognition (July 12, 2011). Social Issues and Policy Review, 6, 112-145.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1884665 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1884665

Contact Information

Brian A. Nosek (Contact Author)
University of Virginia ( email )
1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
Rachel Riskind
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
Feedback to SSRN

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