Recently the term unconscious bias, referring to race and sex, has increasingly appeared in the media. It appears that the support for these terms come from research conducted using the Implicit Association Test (IAT). However as I understand it the IAT is not a particularly reliable measure. My questions are quiet simple:

Are these findings reliable and valid?

What is driving these effects? In-group/out-group differences, sexism and racism, methodological errors etc.

Can the findings of previous IAT studies be used to extrapolate to unconscious racism and sexism? What are the consequences for the research and media based upon these findings.


I understand that this is a very emotive subject, but please try to remain rational. Any emotional or subjective answers will be rejected.

Note. I have done a bit of background reading on this while creating the question, but I don't have time to answer this myself at this time.

Here are a few references...

  1. Lebrecht (2009) Perceptual other-race training reduces implicit racial bias.
  2. Kaufman, psychology today article. (2011)
  3. Rezaei (2011). Validity and reliability of the IAT: Measuring gender and ethnic stereotypes.

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