“Bits of Bias”

December 7th, 2011

An interesting article on implicit bias:

Scientists have demonstrated that implicit biases are pervasive, large in magnitude, and have real-world consequences. What can we do about them? One principal strategy is to decrease the implicit bias in our minds (the other is to disrupt their causal link to behavior). In order to decrease bias, we should understand where they come from in the first place. Put crudely, is it nature nurture? I argue that it’s mostly nurture, and of a specific sort – via vicarious experiences with outgroups mediated by electronic media. These vicarious interactions, fed to us via entertainment, news, social media, and computer mediated-communities, strengthen particular mental associations. If these vicarious experiences are indeed a substantial source of implicit bias, what might policymakers do, in the shadow of the First Amendment?