Stereotypes and bias in the structure of conscious thought

January 10, 2010, 3:00pm
Location: meet up in tearoom, move to Ryerson
Lecture by Max Falcowitz

We all know stereotypes influence the way we think. What’s less clear is just how this happens. I’ll talk about the important distinguishing features between conscious and unconscious thought and the role of stereotype activation and application in each. Through a combination of theoretical models and empirical research, I intend to show that, contrary to the conventional wisdom of “normal” thought “colored” by bias, stereotypes play a critical role in shaping the very way our conscious thoughts are structured, which in turn plays a powerful role in what those thoughts wind up being. I will then go into some specific cases of how stereotypes structure thought and discuss how they force us to consider how much our private, supposedly free thoughts are really our own.


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