Our guest: Nilanjana Dasgupta
Nilanjana Dasgupta is a professor in Psychological & Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, as well as the director of the Institute of Diversity Sciences, and Faculty Equity & Inclusion. “I study the ways in which changes in social contexts correspondingly change implicit attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour.” This quote, and the information above, is taken from https://www.implicitdasgupta.org/buju.
Dasgupta is also the Principal Investigator of the Implicit Social Cognition Lab at the University of Massachusetts which has published several research articles on the topic of Implicit Bias. Check out the webpage to read more about Dasgupta’s impressive accomplishments, or the Implicit Social and Cognition Lab and their fascinating work and publications!
Dasgupta’s Twitter account: @Dasgupta_Psych
Explanation of Terms
“When people encounter a person, a group, or an issue they are familiar with, the attitude or belief associated with it pops into mind quickly and automatically in a split second. People may be unaware of attitude activation or only semi-aware of it. But once an implicit attitude or belief is activated, it is difficult to inhibit or suppress right away and the activated attitude or belief is more likely to drive subsequent behavior, judgments and decisions.
Implicit attitudes and beliefs are typically seen as conceptually distinct from explicit, controlled, self-reported, or conscious responses. […] Whereas explicit attitudes are measured by directly asking people to consider how they feel about a particular object or issue and report their thoughts and feelings in a deliberate fashion, implicit attitudes are inferred indirectly from people’s performance on tasks that, at face value seem unrelated to attitude measurement.” (Dasgupta, 2013, p. 4)
Dasgupta, N. (2013). Implicit Attitudes and Beliefs Adapt to Situations: A Decade of
Research on the Malleability of Implicit Prejudice, Stereotypes, and the Self-Concept. In P. Devine & A. Plant (Eds.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol 47 (Vol. 47, pp. 233–279). Elsevier Academic Press Inc. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-407236-7.00005-X
Implicit Association Test (IAT)
“At its core, the IAT assesses how closely people’s brains link concepts, which can be as benign as ‘flowers and pretty’ and ‘insects and yucky,’ but can include items such as ‘Blacks and bad’ and ‘women and passive’. Many social psychologists believe that these cognitive associations lead to ‘implicit bias,’ which may influence subtle forms of discrimination.”
“IAT: Fad or fabulous” by Beth Azar (2008) Vol. 39, No. 7 https://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/07-08/psychometric
If you want to try the test: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
If you want to try the test in Norwegian https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit//norway/
Affect Misattribution Paradigm/Procedure (AMP)
Mentioned as an alternative to the IAT for measuring implicit attitudes.
“an implicit attitude measure in which the target object to be evaluated is first presented and then is immediately followed by presentation of an ambiguous stimulus (e.g., a Chinese pictograph). The respondent is required to evaluate the ambiguous stimulus as pleasant or unpleasant. The procedure is based on the premise that affective responses to the initial target object will be misattributed to, and thus will influence evaluations of, the ambiguous stimulus thereby providing insight into the evaluation of the target object. [developed by U.S. psychologist B. Keith Payne and his colleagues]” (Quoted from: https://dictionary.apa.org/affect-misattribution-procedure)
Hoffman, C., & Moe, V. (2017). Holdninger til jøder og muslimer i Norge 2017: Befolkningsundersøkelse og minoritetsstudie. Senter for Studier Av Holocaust Og Livssynsminoriteter. https://www.hlsenteret.no/aktuelt/publikasjoner/ digitale-hefter/hl-rapport_13des-web.pdf
It is a mapping of attitudes towards Jews and Muslims in the Norwegian population that was published in 2017 [the article is in Norwegian] According to the article:
20,9% reported to would have disliked somewhat or strongly to have a Muslim in their circle of friends (11,5 % reported to dislike somewhat, while 9,4% would dislike strongly) (p. 56)
26% reported to would have disliked somewhat or strongly to have a Muslim as their neighbour (15,1 % reported to dislike somewhat, while 10,9% would dislike strongly) (p.55)
9.8% reported to would have disliked somewhat or strongly to have a Jew in their circle of friends (6,4 % reported to dislike somewhat, while 3,4% would dislike strongly) (p. 35)
10,6% reported to would have disliked somewhat or strongly to have a Jew as their neighbour (7,4 % reported to dislike somewhat, while 3,2% would dislike strongly) (p.35)
(Hoffman & Moe, 2017)
Stout, J. G., Dasgupta, N., Hunsinger, M., & McManus, M. A. (2011). STEMing the tide: Using ingroup experts to inoculate women’s self-concept in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100(2), 255–270. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021385
Investigate the effect of female role models in STEM on the self-efficacy of female students in STEM. The study found that according to explicitly reported attitudes, it was of no significance whether the professor same-sex or not. However, it was observed that “implicit self-perceptions and attitudes were profoundly affected” p.268, and that these again had a high predictive ability for future career goals. This points out the importance of acquiring an improved understanding of women’s implicit processes and self-conceptions with respect to abilities in STEM.
Dasgupta’s suggestions for further reading
Griffith, E. E., Mickey, E. L., & Dasgupta, N. (2022). A “Chillier” Climate for Multiply
Marginalized STEM Faculty Impedes Research Collaboration. Sex Roles.
The article presents a survey of STEM faculty at a university. From the survey it was observed that faculty with a minority identity had more negative experiences with department-level research collaborations, perceived their department climate to be less inclusive, equitable, and transparent, and felt their opinion was less valued in the department compared to colleagues from majority groups. Faculty with multiple minority identities reported even more negative experiences with collaboration, and perceived less transparency, and gender and racial equity
Rivera-Rodriguez, A., Larsen, G., & Dasgupta, N. (2021). Changing public opinion about gender activates group threat and opposition to feminist social movements among men. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 136843022110488.
In this study it was observed that “exposing men to information indicating that American public opinion has shifted away from valuing traditionally masculine traits over the last few decades activated social status threat but not realistic or symbolic threat. [...] social status threat elicited by the public opinion manipulation mediated to predict less support for feminist social movements. [...] among highly masculine men, information about public opinion change reduced support for feminist movements through symbolic threat; but symbolic threat did not play a mediational role for men who were moderate identifiers or low identifiers with masculinity.” p. 13-14
The author’s interpretations of their own findings: “Our findings suggest that many men (particularly men who strongly identify as masculine) may view social change from feminism through a zero-sum lens, with gender equality progressing at the cost of men’s privileged status within the gender hierarchy.” “If highly masculine identifying men view feminist movements and the social change these movements advocate as a zero-sum game, then reframing feminism as “lifting all boats” rather than benefiting women at the cost of men may alleviate group-related threats and increase support for feminist movements and public policies.” p. 16
Rivera-Rodriguez, A., Sherwood, M., Fitzroy, A. B., Sanders, L. D., & Dasgupta, N. (2021). Anger, race, and the neurocognition of threat: Attention, inhibition, and error processing during a weapon identification task. Cognitive Research: Principles and
Implications, 6(1), 74. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41235-021-00342-w
Study investigated the effect of anger on behaviour and neural response in a task in which one was to detect weapons versus harmless objects held by a person whose skin colour was manipulated.
“These findings partially support the anger as goal attainment motivation hypothesis (H2), suggesting that anger motivates goal attainment by focusing attentional and memory resources away from task-irrelevant stimuli like race by suppressing preferential sustained attention (vigilance) to Black faces (indexed by P2 amplitudes), and reducing preferential inhibition of White faces (indexed by N2 amplitudes).” p. 19
Thiem, K. C., & Dasgupta, N. (2022). From Precollege to Career: Barriers Facing Historically
Marginalized Students and Evidence‐Based Solutions. Social Issues and Policy
Review, 16(1), 212–251. https://doi.org/10.1111/sipr.12085
The article uses previous literature and findings to discuss ways in which marginalized students in STEM courses may be hindered in their academic education as well as potential evidence-based solutions for such obstacles.
For those interested in this topic, she also highly suggests that you check out the article listed on her webpage: https://www.implicitdasgupta.org/resources.
Other research on implicit bias in educational contexts
Gilliam, W. S., Maupin, A. N., Reyes, C. R., Accavitti, M., & Shic, F. (2016). Do Early
Educators’ Implicit Biases Regarding Sex and Race Relate to Behavior Expectations and Recommendations of Preschool Expulsions and Suspensions? Yale University Child Center. https://medicine.yale.edu/childstudy/zigler/publications/Preschool%20I mplicit%20Bias%20Policy%20Brief_final_9_26_276766_5379_v1.pdf
This research brief describes a study of implicit biases in early educators. In the study early educators were asked to watch a video with four young children playing; a Black boy, a Black girl, a White boy and a White girl. The assignment was to keep track of the amount of mischievous acts by each child demonstrated in the video, while in reality no such acts occurred by either child. The teachers’ attention was monitored using eye-tracking. It was observed that the teachers paid most attention to the Black boy, secondly to the White boy, thirdly to the Black girl, and the least attention was paid to the White girl. This observation was interpreted to imply the prevalence of both gender- and race-based implicit biases concerning expectations for mischievous behaviour, among the educators participating in the study.
A film about the contribution of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, three African-American women in the U.S. Space Program. Featuring actresses Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe.
A film that tells the story of Harriet Tubman. A woman who stands as one of the most iconic freedom fighters in history due to her efforts for the Underground Railroad.
On the basis of sex
A movie about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her fight against discrimination on the basis of sex in the legal system.
A fictional series written with the purpose of creating counter-stereotypical impressions, as well as bringing to light certain racist conditions and tragedies included in the plot.
A young girl, Wadjda, lives in Saudi Arabia and wants to buy a bicycle in order to beat her friend in a race. But Wadjda's mother refuses, fearing repercussions from the Saudi society.
Baby (by Jessie Levandov)
A short-film following a queer Dominican-American teenager from the Bronx who navigates a community categorized by a level of toxic masculinity. The masculine representation of him and the boy he likes contribute to the counter- stereotypicality of the film and how it portrays LGBTQ identity.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli
This is a book series which consists of short descriptions of actual women from all over the world who have made significant contributions in a variety of ways.
Little leaders: Exceptional men in black history by Vashti Harrison
This book features descriptions of various Black men who have significant contributions in a variety of ways.
The Little Book of Queer Icons by Samuel Alexander
This book features a collection of various queer people who have achieved significant feats of various kinds.