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The Mind Of The Village: Understanding Our Implicit Biases

The Mind of the Village
Luciano Lozano
/
Getty Images/Ikon Images

Where do our minds live? A simple, scientific response would be to say our minds live in our brains. But Harvard psychologist Mahzarin Banaji says we should not think of our minds as being solitary.

"The individual mind sits in society. And the connection between mind and society is an extremely important one that should not be forgotten."

Banaji is one of the creators of the Implicit Association Test, a widely-used tool for measuring a person's implicit biases. She says it's important to acknowledge that problems rooted in prejudice cannot be solved by finger pointing.

"One of the difficulties we've had in the past is that we have looked at individual people and blamed individual people. We've said if we can remove these 10 bad police officers from this force, we'll be fine. And we know as social scientists - and I believe firmly - that that is no way to change anything."

This week on the Hidden Brain radio show, we examine research about the mind of the village. We'll begin with a focus on police shootings of unarmed black men. Later in the show, we look at how biases affect judges in the U.S.

Additional Resources:

This episode includes references to research by Mahzarin Banaji, Eric Hehman, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Joshua Correll, and Maya Sen. You'll also hear from Philip Tetlock.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Shankar Vedantam is the host and creator of Hidden Brain. The Hidden Brain podcast receives more than three million downloads per week. The Hidden Brain radio show is distributed by NPR and featured on nearly 400 public radio stations around the United States.
Parth Shah is a producer and reporter in the Programming department at NPR. He came to NPR in 2016 as a Kroc Fellow.
Rhaina Cohen is a producer and editor for NPR's Enterprise Storytelling unit, working across Embedded, Invisibilia, and Rough Translation.
Tara Boyle is the supervising producer of NPR's Hidden Brain. In this role, Boyle oversees the production of both the Hidden Brain radio show and podcast, providing editorial guidance and support to host Shankar Vedantam and the shows' producers. Boyle also coordinates Shankar's Hidden Brain segments on Morning Edition and other NPR shows, and oversees collaborations with partners both internal and external to NPR. Previously, Boyle spent a decade at WAMU, the NPR station in Washington, D.C. She has reported for The Boston Globe, and began her career in public radio at WBUR in Boston.
Jennifer Schmidt is a senior producer for Hidden Brain. She is responsible for crafting the complex stories that are told on the show. She researches, writes, gathers field tape, and develops story structures. Some highlights of her work on Hidden Brain include episodes about the causes of the #MeToo movement, how diversity drives creativity, and the complex psychology of addiction.