I LOVE Women

Time: 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm

Contact: Crystal · cdramey@loyno.edu · 5048653940

Location: Multimedia Room 2, Monroe Library

Join us in welcoming Dr. Vida Yao of Rice University who will present "I Love Women" A Theoretical Challenge to Implicit Bias Research.


Recent years have seen a surge of interest in implicit bias. Driving this concern is the thesis, apparently established by tests such as the IAT, that people who hold egalitarian explicit attitudes and beliefs, are often influenced by implicit mental processes that operate independently from, and are largely insensitive to, their non-implicit attitudes. We argue that implicit bias testing in social and empirical psychology does not, and without a fundamental shift in focus could not, establish this startling thesis. We suggest that rapid conceptual associations, and the actions they cause, may be nothing more than expressions of subjects’ non-implicit attitudes. Implicit bias research has failed to rule out this “Non-Implicit Explanation” because such research has been conducted in light of inadequate theories of racism and sexism. As a result, such testing has not sufficiently controlled for subjects’ prejudiced non-implicit beliefs and emotions, and has not ruled out the possibility that non-implicit prejudice best explains test subjects’ discriminatory associations and behavior. After making this case, we discuss the implications of our arguments for moral theorizing, admonishing philosophers not to depart from standard forms of interpersonal assessment and response when confronted with implicit bias testing data. If rapid associations and the actions they cause are often straightforward expressions of agents’ characters, then our attempts at moral improvement ought to favor reasoning, argument, and education over therapeutic reprogramming.

This event is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Philosophy Department, the Loyola Honors Program, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.