New study further confirms implicit bias towards non-native speakers of English at work

Published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, here.


We propose and test a new theory explaining glass-ceiling bias against nonnative speakers as driven by perceptions that nonnative speakers have weak political skill. Although nonnative accent is a complex signal, its effects on assessments of the speakers’ political skill are something that speakers can actively mitigate; this makes it an important bias to understand.


There are interesting tie-ins with an earlier post in this blog on bias and foreign languages.

Thanks F!

Gender, the Fed, male networks and implicit bias

Great article by Matt Yglesias. (Thanks, M!)

I think about myself. I’m a man. Like most American men, I’d say a majority of my close friends are men. What’s more, most political journalists are men. So when I think about my closest personal associates in the field of political journalism, I come up with a list of cronies and buddies and confidantes who are mostly men. And that’s life. But precisely because this is such a banal state of affairs, I try to go out of my way to be cognizant of it when I’m in a position to suggest candidates for jobs. If I go about devising a “gender blind” list of suggestions, I’m going to come up with a male-dominated list. Not because I’m some egregious misogynist, but because that’s my life and that’s my field. But this men-recommending-other-men dynamic is poisonous for the profession and for the world. The right thing to do is to sit around and say “I’m going to come up with some women to add to my list of recommendations before sending it over even if that means I need to think a bit harder.” Because unless someone does that, nothing ever changes.

Implicit bias and the old boys’ network

Kieran Healy has dramatically demonstrated just how much women are left out of citation networks in philosophy. I think it’s vital to do some hard thinking about what this means and what we can do about it. One reason it’s vital is that citation rates DO get used in hiring, tenure and promotion decisions. We need to make sure that the Healy data don’t just get used as a nice list of who should be getting job offers from leading departments. We need to see the data as what they almost certainly are: an illustration of implicit bias in action. We don’t have direct evidence for this, but it’s exactly what we’d predict from what we know about implicit biases. Just as the first names to leap to mind for your conference (or syllabus) are likely to be male, the first names to leap to mind for your bibliography are likely to be male.

Prompted by Healy’s work, Ross Cameron’s been reflecting eloquently on this on Facebook:

Looked at the bibliographies in my papers for the last few years. In almost all of them, I have citations to women, BUT (i) they are significantly outnumbered, more so than I expected and (ii) it tends to be the same women I’m citing again and again (more so, I think, than that it’s the same men I’m citing again and again).

Just like many of us have been making a conscious effort to invite women to workshops etc, and trying to think outside the box about who to invite (“Oh, Katherine Hawley, Karen Bennett and Laurie Paul are all busy. Better just have an all dude metaphysics workshop then!”) it seems clear that we need to also concentrate on making a conscious effort to cite women and to think outside the box about who to cite.

I am lazy about scholarship, no doubt about it, but there’s no excuse for laziness if that means you’re contributing to injustice. Time for the Gendered Citation Campaign!

I hereby urge you all to go look at your bibliographies, and– even more importantly– make sure you actively think about what women you should cite in current and future papers. Also: speak up when people use citation data to argue against hiring or promoting a woman. Show them the Healy data, and talk to them about implicit bias.

UPDATE: And when you’re refereeing, have a look at the references. If the author is leaving out women who should be in, suggest that they add them.

Registration: Implicit Bias Conference 19-21 April, Sheffield

Registration for the conference Implicit Bias, Philosophy and Psychology is now open! This conference is the Fourth and final event of the Leverhulme-funded Implicit Bias and Philosophy Project. For the full programme go here.

To register, go here. Although the conference is free, we do require registration so that we can plan lunches (which are free on Saturday and Sunday) and because the venue has limited space. At the registration site, you will also be given the option to pay for accommodation and evening meals on Friday and Saturday. You *must* book by 10 April at the latest, but due to space limitations we encourage you to book promptly if you want to be sure of attending.

For queries please contact the project’s Research Assistant, Angie Pepper: a.pepper AT Do let Angie know if you have disabilities requiring accommodation, or if we can help with arranging childcare. (Unfortunately, the Leverhulme Trust will not pay for this, but we can arrange it for you.)

CFA: Implicit Bias, Philosophy and Psychology

Implicit Bias, Philosophy and Psychology Conference: Sheffield, April 20-21, 2013

Deadline for Submission: 15 December 2012

The Leverhulme-funded Implicit Bias and Philosophy Project
( announces its fourth and final event, a
conference on Implicit Bias, Philosophy and Psychology. Authors of
accepted papers will have the costs of their conference attendance
(including transportation) fully funded, within reason. We invite papers on any
topic falling under the conference title, but would especially welcome
papers exploring any of the following topics:

-Correcting for implicit biases
-Intersectionality and implicit bias
-Measurement of implicit bias
-Relationship between implicit and explicit bias
-Implementation intentions
-Motivation to control prejudice
-Implicit bias and real-world behaviour
-Malleability of implicit bias
-Varieties of implicit bias
-Implicit bias and academia
-Implicit bias and ethics
-Implicit bias and the law
-Stereotype threat
-Implicit biases and social construction
-Implicit bias and institutional prejudice
-Responsibility and implicit bias
-Blame and implicit bias
-Implicit bias and self-knowledge
-Applications of implicit bias research to “real world”

Keynote speakers will be:

Helen Beebee (Philosophy, Manchester)
Irene Blair (Psychology, Colorado)
Paschal Sheeran (Psychology, Sheffield)
Manuel Vargas (Philosophy, University of San Francisco)

Please send abstracts (up to 500 words) prepared for anonymous review
to Angie Pepper:

Queries to Jenny Saul,