Long-term reduction in implicit race bias: A prejudice habit-breaking intervention

J Exp Soc Psychol. 2012 Nov;48(6):1267-1278. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2012.06.003.


We developed a multi-faceted prejudice habit-breaking intervention to produce long-term reductions in implicit race bias. The intervention is based on the premise that implicit bias is like a habit that can be reduced through a combination of awareness of implicit bias, concern about the effects of that bias, and the application of strategies to reduce bias. In a 12-week longitudinal study, people who received the intervention showed dramatic reductions in implicit race bias. People who were concerned about discrimination or who reported using the strategies showed the greatest reductions. The intervention also led to increases in concern about discrimination and personal awareness of bias over the duration of the study. People in the control group showed none of the above effects. Our results raise the hope of reducing persistent and unintentional forms of discrimination that arise from implicit bias.

Keywords: implicit bias; intervention; prejudice; reduction; self-regulation; stereotyping.