The Implicit Association Test (IAT) Survey: Implicit Bias Against Specific Social Groups. Still? || NeoDrafts

  • Author : Jasmine
  • Published : February 28, 2023

The Implicit Association Test (IAT) Survey: Implicit Bias Against Specific Social Groups. Still?

The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is a psychological test designed to measure implicit biases that people may hold about specific social groups, even if they are not consciously aware of them. The IAT test was developed by psychologists Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald in the late 1990s; the IAT has been used in numerous studies to explore the nature and impact of implicit bias. In this article, you will learn about the IAT test and how it can bring forth true equality among society and individuals.

An Equal Society

An equitable society is one in which every person, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, or any other characteristic, has access to the same opportunities, resources, and privileges. Such a society is not only morally just but also economically and socially beneficial.

First and foremost, an equitable society promotes fairness and justice. It acknowledges that everyone deserves an equal chance to succeed and reach their full potential and that no one should be held back or discriminated against based on factors beyond their control. In an equitable society, everyone is treated with dignity and respect and has a voice in decision-making processes that affect their lives.

An equitable society also has economic benefits. When everyone has access to the same opportunities and resources, they are better able to contribute to the economy and society as a whole. For example, when people have access to quality education, they are more likely to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workforce, leading to increased productivity and economic growth. In addition, when people can participate fully in society, they are more likely to start businesses, invest in their communities, and contribute to society’s overall well-being.

Moreover, an equitable society fosters social cohesion and harmony. When people feel valued and respected, they are more likely to trust each other and work together towards common goals—this can lead to stronger communities, more effective governance, and better outcomes for everyone.

On the other hand, when a society is characterized by inequality and discrimination, it can have a negative impact on individuals and society as a whole. For example, people who face discrimination and barriers to success may become disillusioned, frustrated, and even radicalized, leading to social unrest and conflict. In addition, when certain groups are systematically excluded from opportunities and resources, it can lead to a concentration of poverty, crime, and other social problems, which can be challenging to address and resolve.

The IAT Test

The IAT test measures the strength of associations between concepts, such as race or gender, and evaluations, such as good or bad. Participants are asked to categorize stimuli, such as pictures of different faces, into two categories (e.g., good vs. bad or black vs. white) as quickly as possible. The test measures response time, with faster responses indicating stronger associations between the stimuli and the categories.

The IAT has been used to study a wide range of implicit biases, including those related to race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and religion. For example, studies using the IAT have found that people associate negative traits more strongly with Black individuals than White individuals and that people associate science and math more strongly with men than with women.

One of the key insights from the IAT is that implicit biases are pervasive and can influence behavior even when people are not consciously aware of them—this means that people may act in biased ways without even realizing it and that simply being aware of one’s implicit biases may not be enough to overcome them.

The IAT has also been used to explore the impact of implicit bias on real-world outcomes. For example, studies have found that physicians who hold implicit biases against certain social groups are more likely to prescribe pain medication to White patients than to Black patients, even when the patients report the same level of pain. Other studies have found that people who hold implicit biases against certain social groups are more likely to make hiring decisions that favor members of their own group, even when the candidates have the same qualifications.

Despite its usefulness, the IAT has also faced criticism from some researchers who argue that it may not be a reliable measure of implicit bias. One critique is that the test measures response time, which can be influenced by factors other than implicit bias, such as familiarity with the task or motor speed. Another critique is that the test may not accurately capture the complexity and nuance of people’s attitudes and beliefs.

Despite these criticisms, the IAT remains a widely-used tool for studying implicit bias and has contributed to our understanding of the nature and impact of discrimination on individuals and society. Moreover, the IAT has helped raise awareness about implicit bias and its impact on social outcomes. It has encouraged individuals and organizations to take steps to mitigate the effects of bias.

For example, some organizations have implemented bias training programs for their employees to raise awareness of implicit bias and provide strategies for mitigating its effects. Other organizations have adopted blind hiring practices, which remove identifying information from job applications to reduce the impact of implicit bias on hiring decisions.


Ultimately, the IAT is an essential tool for understanding the complex and often unconscious biases that shape our attitudes and behaviors toward different social groups. An equitable society is crucial because it promotes fairness, justice, economic growth, social cohesion, and overall well-being for everyone. Achieving such a society requires a sustained effort to address systemic barriers and discrimination and to create opportunities and resources that are accessible to all. By working towards equity, we can create a better future for ourselves and future generations. By showing light on these biases, we can work toward a more just and equitable society that values diversity, inclusivity, and equality.

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