Popularity as a Poor Proxy for Utility: The Case of Implicit Prejudice

Psychological Science Under Scrutiny: Recent Challenges and Proposed Solutions (S.O. Lilienfeld & I.D. Waldman, editors, 2017)

Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2017-32

33 Pages Posted: 25 May 2017 Last revised: 12 Jun 2017

See all articles by Gregory Mitchell

Gregory Mitchell

University of Virginia School of Law

Philip Tetlock

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: May 25, 2017

Abstract

This chapter compares claims regarding the scientific and societal significance of the Implicit Association Test (“IAT”) to the empirical record. The data fails to support the rhetoric: the mechanisms of bias remain in dispute and theories of prejudice have not converged; bold claims about the superior predictive validity of the IAT over explicit measures have been falsified; IAT scores add practically no explanatory power in studies of discriminatory behavior; and IAT research has not led to new practical solutions to discrimination. The implicit prejudice construct should be subjected to greater theoretical and empirical scrutiny.

Keywords: implicit bias, Implicit Association Test, discrimination

Suggested Citation

Mitchell, Gregory and Tetlock, Philip, Popularity as a Poor Proxy for Utility: The Case of Implicit Prejudice (May 25, 2017). Psychological Science Under Scrutiny: Recent Challenges and Proposed Solutions (S.O. Lilienfeld & I.D. Waldman, editors, 2017); Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2017-32. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2973929

Gregory Mitchell (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-243-4088 (Phone)

Philip Tetlock

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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