Implicit Social Cognition
Mahzarin Banaji, Harvard University
How deep are the bounds on human thinking and feeling and how do they shape social interactions and decisions? For the past 25 years, Dr. Banaji has studied mental processes that appear to operate without conscious awareness or conscious control. In social contexts, the decisions that stem from such processes (i.e., automatically elicited social preferences and beliefs) can be at odds with consciously expressed preferences and beliefs and even one’s intentions and moral values. From this basic dissociation between implicit and explicit social cognition we have explored the nature of implicit social cognition: its universality and cultural variations, its developmental origins, stability and malleability, and prediction of behavior in a variety of contexts.