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Prejudice and Politics Re-Examined The Political Significance of Implicit Racial Bias*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2015

Abstract

As part of a general inquiry into mental mechanisms that operate outside conscious awareness, experimental psychology has recently established the presence and importance of “implicit attitudes.” The purpose of our paper is to compare the roles played by implicit and explicit prejudice in politics. Relying on two national surveys of the American electorate that included standard measures of implicit and explicit prejudice, we provide a systematic comparison of prejudice’s political effects: for the candidates Americans choose, the policies they favor, the assessments they make of government performance, and the racialized information they absorb. We find that implicit and explicit prejudice provide radically different pictures of racial politics in America.

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Original Articles
Copyright
© The European Political Science Association 2015 

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Footnotes

*

Donald R. Kinder, Philip E. Converse Distinguished University Professor, Department of Political Science, Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (drkinder@umich.edu). Timothy J. Ryan, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 (tjr@email.unc.edu). The paper was originally scheduled for delivery at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, New Orleans, August 31, 2012, which was canceled due to Hurricane Isaac. The authors thank the American National Election Studies for collecting the data that made our analysis possible, Anthony Greenwald for gracious and helpful assistance in interpreting the IAT, John Jackson and Rocío Titiunik for timely statistical advice, and Jennifer Crocker, Allison Dale-Riddle, Spencer Piston, Norbert Schwarz, David Sears, Nicholas Valentino, and Samuel Weiss for helpful comments on an earlier version of the paper. To view supplementary material for this article, please visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2015.49.

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