Fellow Mahzarin Banaji Wins Golden Goose Award

On September 13th, 2018, Academy Fellow Mahzarin Banaji of Harvard University and colleagues Anthony Greenwald of Washington University and Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia were awarded a 2019 Golden Goose Award for their research on implicit bias.

Banaji and Greenwald began to work on the very beginnings of the ideas around implicit bias while working together at Ohio  State University, where Banaji was a graduate student and Greenwald was an advisor.  Their work investigated why there was a gender biases when participants were asked to judge whether a male or female name was considered famous even though participants recalled these names from memory equally well.  With help from National Science Foundation funding, Banaji and Greenwald were able to continue to conduct experiments and research via the Implicit Association Test (IAT), this phenomenon that has since come to be known as implicit bias.

The decade following, Banaji and Greenwald continued to carry out IATs which continued to show evidence of implicit bias.  The results of these studies were met with some resistance even though the existence of implicit bias is not the same as the existence of prejudice – which is specifically a conscious bias.   Nozek joined Banaji at Yale and, using his computer science background, expanded implicit bias research throughout the internet.

Nozek created an online IAT called Project Implicit where thousands of people are free to take IATs.  Within a month of the site going live in 1998, 50,000 responses were received and drew significant and serious interest in what is now the common idea of implicit bias.  Data collected from these IATs via Project Implicit are used in business, by police departments, in class rooms, and throughout research centers to try to carry out unbiased research, tactics, and policies.

The Golden Goose Awards were established in 2012 to recognize scientists whose federally funded research has led to breakthroughs which have a significant and lasting impact on society.