Psychologists at Harvard, the University of Virginia and the University
of Washington created "Project Implicit" to develop Hidden Bias Tests — called Implicit Association
Tests, or IATs, in the academic world — to measure unconscious bias.
Hidden Bias Tests measure unconscious, or automatic, biases. The ability to distinguish friend from foe helped early humans survive, and the ability to quickly and automatically categorize people is a fundamental quality of the human mind. Categories give order to life, and every day, we group other people into categories based on social and other characteristics. However, this is also the foundation of stereotypes, prejudice and, ultimately, discrimination. It can be easy to reject the results of the tests as "not me" when you first encounter them. Recognizing that the problem is in many others — as well as in ourselves — should motivate us all to try both to understand and to act.