Do theories of implicit race bias change moral judgments?

Christopher Daryl Cameron, B. Keith Payne, Joshua Knobe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent research in social psychology suggests that people harbor "implicit race biases," biases which can be unconscious or uncontrollable. Because awareness and control have traditionally been deemed necessary for the ascription of moral responsibility, implicit biases present a unique challenge: do we pardon discrimination based on implicit biases because of its unintentional nature, or do we punish discrimination regardless of how it comes about? The present experiments investigated the impact such theories have upon moral judgments about racial discrimination. The results show that different theories differ in their impact on moral judgments: when implicit biases are defined as unconscious, people hold the biased agent less morally responsible than when these biases are defined as automatic (i.e., difficult to control), or when no theory of implicit bias is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-289
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Justice Research
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 30 2010

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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