Prejudice and Politics Re-Examined: The Political Significance of Implicit Racial Bias
68 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2012 Last revised: 28 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2012
So-called "implicit" attitudes are a burgeoning area of research in psychology. These attitudes arise from processes that are automatic and unconscious, but recent years have seen an explosion of studies that take advantage of new ways to measure them. Political opinions and action, however, differ in important ways from the behaviors that, to date, have been focal; what do implicit attitudes mean for our understanding of citizen politics? We present an early but thorough assessment of this question as applied to the case of prejudice, an area of research where implicit attitudes might be particularly important. Using data from two nationally representative samples that incorporate implicit measures, we assess the relative efficacy of implicit and explicit attitudes for explaining political phenomena. Across a host of tests, we find prejudice measured implicitly to miss important relationships that explicit measures uncover.
Keywords: implicit prejudice, explicit prejudice
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