Implicit Attitudes Can Change Over the Long Term

From the website of the Association for Psychological Science:

Data from more than 4 million tests completed between 2004 and 2016 show that Americans’ attitudes toward certain social groups are becoming less biased over time, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The findings show that participants’ self-reported (explicit) attitudes regarding groups defined by age, disability, body weight, race, skin tone, and sexuality have all shifted toward neutrality over the span of a decade. Crucially, the data also showed that participants’ more automatic (implicit) attitudes toward race, skin tone, and sexuality have also decreased in bias over time.

“We provide the first report of long-term change in both implicit and explicit attitudes – measured from the same individual – towards multiple social groups,” says psychological scientist Tessa E. S. Charlesworth of Harvard University, first author on the study. “This research is important because it shows that, contrary to previous assumptions that implicit attitudes were stable features of the mind or society, implicit attitudes appear, in fact, to be capable of long-term durable change.”

Charlesworth and Harvard University psychology professor Mahzarin R. Banaji used statistical models similar to those employed by economic forecasters to analyze change in data collected via the Project Implicit website from January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2016. Only participants living in the United States were included in the analyses.

More here.

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