The bad news is that the effects of Implicit Biases look to be augmented by ingroup/outgroup classifications, and the results go significantly beyond what we normally discuss here. The good news is that there is even more research on how to mitigate its effects.
Reading comments on a post at Young Female Scientist, I saw someone describe John Dovidio as a researcher at Yale who works on implicit bias and how to reduce it and its effects. A step over to Academic Search Complete took me onto a number of his articles. Though Dovidio’s work seems centered on racial biasis, it looks like it certainly provides insight into other biases.
Here is one short article by him and others which is about reducing biasis in health care providers. There are three claims in it that strike me as particularly important:
1. In the US, and presumably the UK and elsewhere, race, ethnicity and gender automatically trigger in-group/out-group classifications. And most unfortunately, “In general, people retain information in a more detailed fashion, remember more positive information, and are more forgiving of behaviors for ingroup compared to outgroup members.” This seems to me strikingly important, and explains phenomenon I was pretty sure I observed and really didn’t understand: When he and she both give exciting presentations at conferences and deal with questions very well, he will be remember better and more positively. The performances may be of equal high merit, but his may well have a greater positive impact on his career in terms of further opportunities being offered to him. (Duh!)
2. There may be components to reducing the effects of implicit biases – and indeed reducing the biases – which I – and I expect others – had not even thought about. There are several suggested in the article. One is related to something we’ve mentioned before; namely, stereotypes get more strongly activated with stress, so people interested in fairly treating someone should work on emotional control. For women in often non-cooperative/competitive fields like philosophy, this is bad news. That is, disagreeing with someone is more likely to get you a dismissive reactions. Your point may be the same as his later point, but yours may be dismissed as just some girls’ mistake. (Duh!)
3. It is not a good idea to stress what bigots they are if you hope to motivate colleagues to better behavior. And there are non-obvious reasons for this. For one thing, that increases their cognitive burden, so they’ll have less to bring to the task of being fair judges.
Perhaps not everyone knows that the effects of race on medical treatment have been discussed a lot recently. Blacks in general should be concerned about getting less good care, going from adequate pain management to major modes of appropriate treatment.