The Use of Socio-Cognitive Mindfulness in Mitigating Implicit Bias and Stereotype-Activated Behaviors
Ngnoumen, Christelle T.
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CitationNgnoumen, Christelle T. 2019. The Use of Socio-Cognitive Mindfulness in Mitigating Implicit Bias and Stereotype-Activated Behaviors. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractNearly 130 years ago today, William James astutely remarked on one of the reasons underlying why we do not change: most of the time, we recycle ideas and associations in a manner that merely strengthens old biases. Since James, and for decades, social psychologists have been concerned with finding techniques to reduce prejudice. To the degree that our thinking involves a mindless “rearranging of old prejudices,” as James originally noted, this dissertation explores the effectiveness of a socio-cognitive mindfulness intervention designed to rearrange old prejudices according to novel associations. The elements of novelty-production and engagement are borrowed from socio-cognitive mindfulness theory and are applied to weaken the strengths of previously-established associations by prompting people to look at outgroup members in new ways. Across seven experiments, a socio-cognitive mindfulness intervention, rooted in novelty-production, demonstrated effectiveness in reducing general implicit racial bias, in reducing specific implicit associations between race and criminality, in reducing face-based bias related to facial maturity, in increasing intergroup empathy, and in decreasing frustration and third-party punishment at the individual level. The research has implications for closing some of the observed social disparities in U.S. education, health care, law enforcement and labor force that are predicted by implicit biases and by empathy deficits. The final results related to frustration and third-party punishment at the individual level have implications for affective obstacles faced by police officers that lend to some observed racial disparities in law enforcement involving use of force.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42029500
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