Richard Clark Cabot Director of Social Ethics
Department of Psychology
Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People
Mahzarin Banaji and her colleague coined the term “implicit bias” in the mid-1990s to refer to behavior that occurs without conscious awareness. Today, Professor Banaji is Cabot Professor of Social Ethics in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous awards for her scientific contributions.
The purpose of the seminar, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, is to reveal the surprising and even perplexing ways in which we make errors in assessing and evaluating others when we recruit and hire, onboard and promote, lead teams, undertake succession planning, and work on behalf of our clients or the public we serve. It is Professor Banaji’s belief that people intend well and that the inconsistency we see, between values and behavior, comes from a lack of awareness. But because implicit bias is pervasive, we must rely on scientific evidence to “outsmart” our minds. If we do so, we will be more likely to reach the life goals we have chosen for ourselves and to serve better the organizations for which we work.
The Benjamin and Anne A. Pinkel Endowed Lecture Fund was established though a generous gift from Sheila Pinkel on behalf of the estate of her parents, Benjamin and Anne A. Pinkel, and serves as a memorial tribute to the lives of her parents. Benjamin Pinkel, who received a BSE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1930, was actively interested in the philosophy of the mind and published a monograph on the subject, Consciousness, Matter, and Energy: The Emergence of Mind in Nature, in 1992, the objective of which is a "re-examination of the mind-body problem in the light of...new scientific information." The lecture series is intended to advance the discussion and rigorous study of the deep questions which engaged Dr. Pinkel's investigations.