The most authoritative professional organization within academic psychology has just given a prestigious honor to Professors Anthony G. Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji. They were pioneers in the research of “implicit bias,” a way for the academy to credibly (in their eyes) blame White people for society’s ills.
Professor Greenwald and Banaji have both, received the Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award 2017 for their work by the American Psychological Association, as they worked on “identifying how the ordinary cognitive processes can produce biases.”
The Research focused around the concept that some stereotypes were unconsciously developed in us, and they motivated the feelings and thoughts, the professors started the research in the 1990s, which led to the foundation of Project Implicit that is essentially a non – profit organization, which conducted several workshops on topics that were related to diversity and inclusion. They also developed an Implicit Association test, which was used to access to the limits of how much a person was racist, sexist, ableist, ageist, and anti-fat. The test further had 14 versions, as they examined these unconscious links on various topics.
In one of their most recent tests, the one conducting the test was asked to put all the bad adjectives to be a self-made category titled ‘Donald Trump’ while the good adjectives to be categorized under all the old presidents.
A social psychologist from the University of Washington – Greenwald, and Banaji, the chair of Harvard psychology department – the founders of Project Implicit claimed that the test was taken by more than a staggering 14 million people in more than 39 countries ever since 1995. However, their theory has been more popular ever since it was published in 2013 in the book titled, ‘The Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People.’
“It’s sobering to discover that whatever you believe intellectually, you’re biased about race, gender, age, or disability,” a columnist Nicholas Kristof had written in 2015.
The Implicit bias education is now vastly involved in the freshman seminars and the training for the faculties. But the efficacy of the instructions and the legality of the research is based on is now being questioned.
After a huge analysis conducted last year by a reporter about Greenwald and Banaji’s research, it was found that their work lacked peer views that underlies the test. Jesse Singal – the reporter also found that the theorists failed to prove the theory and presumed instead about what was happening in the people’s unconsciousness.
Furthermore, another analysis, which was reviewing the results of approximately 426 studies involving 72,000 subjects and was published in 2016, found that the unconscious bias “does not necessarily lead to changes in explicit bias or behavior.”
In a statement, Greenwald had addressed the Campus Reform, and said that he and Banaji “know that awards for our work are not the equivalent of establishing the scientific validity of our work,” and they are pursuing further “research to convince ourselves of the validity of our theories. Awards for scientific work are not measures of quality of the work—they are more indicators of acceptance within the profession. Banaji and I are fortunate that our work has received this approval. We are grateful. But not all of the attention that our work has received has been favorable.”
The pair were selected by a six-person Committee on Scientific Awards to be awarded by the APA, the largest trade association of its kind with approximately 120,000 members, a $115 million budget, and nearly 100 journals published annually.