People’s bias and prejudice might be considerably affected by social situations and personal learning histories. Banaji (2001) suggests that unconscious social cognition assessments often result in the participants’ feelings of surprise and rejection at the unexpected outcomes. Group membership activates social groups’ knowledge that automatically defines a person’s bias and stereotypes (Banaji, 2001). Based on the researcher’s findings, it might be reasonable to conclude that human beings may lack control over their thoughts or actions. However, free will plays a significant role in prejudicial acts, as individuals are able to evaluate the outcomes or consequences of their actions, which makes them responsible for their behavior. Hate crimes and racial violence may originate from the expression of free will, allowing racists to violate social norms, moral obligations, and laws. Therefore, people need to act according to the basic ethical principles and cultural competence expected in diverse, multicultural communities, regardless of their implicit biases and attitudes.
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The results of the race test revealed a slight automatic preference for White people over Black people, which is different from my conscious beliefs and attitudes towards ethnically diverse individuals. The responses to the weight IAT indicated no automatic preference between fat and thin people, and the outcome is consistent with my personal opinion on the topic. I was surprised to learn that my implicit attitude towards Asian people does not agree with my conscious belief, as I equally have no explicit bias or prejudice related to the Asian population. Moreover, the weapon IAT suggests that I unconsciously associate weapons with Black people and harmless objects with White people. Thus, my implicit bias determined by the test is inconsistent with my explicit perception of weapons and race. Finally, the sexuality test discovered a slight automatic preference for gay people over straight that might be explained by the influence of my recent experience of cultural trends promoting pride and respect for the LGBT community. Overall, the IAT influenced my perception of conscious control because the responses revealed a certain degree of unconscious bias or prejudice that I did not expect.
Banaji, M. (2001). Ordinary prejudice. Psychological Science Agenda, 8–10.