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Contemporary Discrimination in the Lab and Field: Benefits and Obstacles of Full-Cycle Social Psychology


Nilanjana Dasgupta, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Tobin Hall, 135 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003 [e-mail:].


This article highlights the necessity of applying evidence-based social psychological research to identify the causes and consequences of implicit bias as they occur in the real world. We first outline a number of benefits that emerge from complementing controlled laboratory experiments with field studies chief among them is that the latter bolster external validity and the applicability of laboratory research to real-world settings where social problems are rooted. Second, we briefly (1) highlight where in the process of decision-making discrimination might occur, as demonstrated by field studies (i.e., when do perceivers’ implicit attitudes get translated into action) and (2) identify some underlying causes. Finally, we speculate about possible remedies for implicit bias in the real world, some of which have been tested in prior research whereas others are yet to be tested.

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