- Category: Decision-making for a social world
- Published on Sunday, 07 August 2011 09:38
Recent technological advances in psychology hold out the promise of detecting unconscious biases before they cause harm. Advocates of the technology may fail to appreciate its many potential uses and costs. We present experimental results demonstrating the ideological filters through which this new technology and its potential uses are evaluated: (1) liberals supported use of the technology to detect unconscious racism among company managers but not to detect unconscious anti-Americanism among applicants to security jobs; conservatives showed the reverse pattern; (2) few participants of any ideology supported punishing individuals for unconscious bias, but liberals and conservatives supported punishing organizations that failed to use the technology to root out each group’s prioritized societal harm; (3) concerns about scientific bias and Type I and II errors mediated perceptions of misuse potential and willingness to punish organizations; (4) political “extremists” were more likely than “moderates” to reconsider support for the technology when confronted with a less palatable alternative use they had not considered.