Intergroup Disparities and Implicit Bias: A Commentary


Emily L. Fisher, Department of Psychology, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY 14456; e-mail:


Despite changing societal norms that are less tolerant of overt discrimination, demonstrable disparities between racial and gender groups remain. The contributors to this impressive special issue document and offer explanations for these disparities in employment and professional contexts, and with regard to disparate outcomes associated with the legal system, and in medical and health care contexts. In our commentary, we examine these aggregate-level disparities and the individual-level explanatory accounts proposed for their existence. The evidence that these papers present is often enough to rule out alternative explanatory accounts, and implicit bias remains a viable account for disparities that, to varying degrees, fit with the available data and the claim that implicit biases are contributing to an understanding of ongoing real-world disparities. As such, we believe that implicit bias research will continue to play a crucial role in understanding and hopefully reducing these aggregate-level disparities in employment, legal, and health care domains.