Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People

Reviewed By: Andrea Juhan Ph.D.

My Review:

This book is about the things in our mind that we do not see or know about, the bias we have, and early imprints that shape all our decisions. It not about being a good or bad person it’s about how the mind works in ALL people.  Bolstered by reliable research over decades, these authors let us see that our good intentions are often not manifested because of the way our blindspots steer or shape a choice before we even know that has happened. It is socially relevant and necessary.

Blindspot is an essential and fascinating reading for anyone working with people. It’s important to know how bias and misinterpretation of people and events persist in the darkness of our preverbal, and non-verbal mind. Our whole body-mind system has bias’ because that’s how our survival functioning has us wired up.

It is a humbling book because it’s hard to see much hope is pursuing true social justice. However, it’s crucial knowledge for us to all have, so that we can be aware of the possibility, that I might not see all angles or that I have chosen a particular direction because that is what I have known. We can to some degree compensate but knowing that we are are not entirely on solid ground when it comes to our perceptions and judgments, can give us the humility to keep questioning our selves and others. We can have opinions but learn to hold them lightly.

There are lots of tests a reader can do to assess their blind spots and add to the research! It is unsettling that how we think we are is not exactly what is true in how we move in the world. Understanding this will make our world a more humane place to be

Recommended by:

Andrea Juhan Ph.D.

Author: Mahzarin R. Baniji, Anthony G. Greenwald

Language availability: English


“Accessible and authoritative . . . While we may not have much power to eradicate our own prejudices, we can counteract them. The first step is to turn a hidden bias into a visible one. . . . What if we’re not the magnanimous people we think we are?”—The Washington Post

I know my own mind.
I am able to assess others in a fair and accurate way.

These self-perceptions are challenged by leading psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald as they explore the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality.

“Blindspot” is the authors’ metaphor for the portion of the mind that houses hidden biases. Writing with simplicity and verve, Banaji and Greenwald question the extent to which our perceptions of social groups—without our awareness or conscious control—shape our likes and dislikes and our judgments about people’s character, abilities, and potential.

In Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test, a method that has revolutionized the way scientists learn about the human mind and that gives us a glimpse into what lies within the metaphoric blindspot.

The title’s “good people” are those of us who strive to align our behavior with our intentions. The aim of Blindspot is to explain the science in plain enough language to help well-intentioned people achieve that alignment. By gaining awareness, we can adapt beliefs and behavior and “outsmart the machine” in our heads so we can be fairer to those around us. Venturing into this book is an invitation to understand our own minds.

Brilliant, authoritative, and utterly accessible, Blindspot is a book that will challenge and change readers for years to come.

Praise for Blindspot

“Conversational . . . easy to read, and best of all, it has the potential, at least, to change the way you think about yourself.”—Leonard Mlodinow, The New York Review of Books

“Banaji and Greenwald deserve a major award for writing such a lively and engaging book that conveys an important message: Mental processes that we are not aware of can affect what we think and what we do. Blindspot is one of the most illuminating books ever written on this topic.”—Elizabeth F. Loftus, Ph.D., distinguished professor, University of California, Irvine; past president, Association for Psychological Science; author of Eyewitness Testimony

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