Posted on May 24, 2023

Harvard Study Finds Implicit Racial Bias Highest Among White People

AFP, May 22, 2023

If there’s one thing we should all be able to agree on, it’s that all human beings belong to the same species, Homo sapiens.

But a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on Monday has found a yawning gap between what people claim to believe and what they actually hold true.

A team from Harvard and Tufts gathered data from more than 60,000 subjects who took part in 13 experiments that tested their implicit biases.

An overwhelming majority — over 90 percent — explicitly stated that white people and non-white people are equally human.

But on an implicit measure, white US participants, as well as white participants from other countries, consistently associated the attribute “human” (as opposed to “animal”) with their own group more than other racial groups.

Conversely, Black, Asian and Hispanic participants showed no such bias, equally associating their own group and white people with “human.”


Across all the experiments, 61 percent of white participants associated white people more with “human” and Black people more with “animal.”

An even greater number — 69 percent of white participants — associated white participants more with humans and Asians more with animals, and the same result occurred for white people taking a white-Hispanic test.


Non-white people did not show an implicit bias in favor of their own racial groups compared to white people.

But they did show a bias towards whites as more human when the test was between white people and another minority group, for example Asians asked to take a test that assessed their attitudes towards white people versus Black people.