Mahzarin R. Banaji is a psychologist who studies human thinking and feeling as they unfold in a social context. Her focus is primarily on mental systems that operate in implicit or unconscious mode. In particular, she is interested in the unconscious nature of assessments of self and others that reflect unintended effects of social group membership (such as age, race/ethnicity, gender, and class). Her work relies on cognitive/affective behavioral measures of adults and children and on neuroimaging (fMRI), with which she explores the implications of her work for theories of individual responsibility and social justice.
During her fellowship term, she will continue to investigate these issues of long-standing interest, challenging conceptions of the human mind and human behavior in legal scholarship and practice. She has formed a core cluster group—consisting of Anthony Greenwald, Linda Krieger, and herself—who will be in residence at the Institute and a larger group of associates who will visit Radcliffe to engage in discussion, writing, and projects with a public focus on matters that concern implicit bias and its effects in everyday life.
Banaji received her PhD from Ohio State University in 1986, was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington, and from 1986 to 2001 taught at Yale University, where she was the Reuben Post Halleck Professor of Psychology. In 2002, she moved to Harvard University as the Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics in the Department of Psychology and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. With Anthony Greenwald and Brian Nosek, she maintains an educational Web site that has accumulated more than 2.5 million completed tasks measuring automatic attitudes and beliefs involving self, other individuals, and social groups.