BOOK REVIEW: Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald | Science News

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BOOK REVIEW: Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald

Review by Nathan Seppa

By
1:20pm, April 18, 2013

In the 1970s, most classical musicians were men. Nobody thought much of it until some orchestras started concealing applicants’ gender. As such blind auditions became more common over the next 20 years, the proportion of women hired into major symphony orchestras doubled from 20 percent to 40 percent.

Banaji and Greenwald have made careers of ferreting out bias, cautioning that the mind doesn’t operate in a vacuum but rather proceeds from a starting point. Borrowing on their own and others’ research, the authors tackle group stereotyping. In one study, test-takers selected a hypothetical person to be on their quiz competition team. The participants naturally accounted for education level, IQ and so on. But the researchers had craftily inserted information on people’s weight. Sure enough, the authors note, the test-takers “traded nine honest-to-goodness IQ

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