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[BRIEFING] Why Claims of Unconscious Racism Fall Flat Debunking the Implicit Association Test

  • The Heritage Foundation 214 Massachusetts Avenue Northeast Washington, DC, 20002 United States (map)

Psychologists developed a test that purports to uncover unconscious racism. Supposedly tapping into the subconscious, the Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures disparities in millisecond response times on a computer. While it has been hailed as “proof” of deeply seeded racism in American society, policymakers should consider the growing body of research suggesting the test cannot predict real-world behavior before enacting policies to counterbalance so-called unconscious bias. Academia, police departments, and corporate America are seeking to root out unconscious racism, and the IAT has started popping up in employment discrimination lawsuits. Join us for a discussion with three distinguished scholars looking at problems with the IAT and why policymakers and employers should think twice before embracing these dubious claims of racism.