“Understanding Unconscious Biases from a Conservative Perspective”

By Robert D. Mather

Dominated by liberals and progressives, social science research has rightfully come under scrutiny by conservatives. Why should conservatives believe anything told to them by liberal researchers at liberal institutions who espouse such hatred and condescension towards conservatives? Particularly when discussing race or politics, why should conservatives listen to liberal social activist “scholars”? 

The answer is that they shouldn’t. Conservatives should continue to scrutinize every research finding that comes from academia, just as scientists should always scrutinize every research finding that comes their way. But when that process of checks and balances is in place, a fact is still a fact. There is solid research in psychological science in my area of research, which is automaticity, attitudes and persuasion, and stereotypes and discrimination. It isn’t always easy to wade through the agenda-driven theories and speculation, but there are legitimate findings that are often misinterpreted. 

In my latest book, Implicit Biases and the Unconscious: Liberal Biases, Racial Prejudice, and Politics, I write about implicit social cognition for a conservative audience. Implicit social cognition refers to all of the social information processing that occurs without our conscious awareness. This is important to all of us to understand, but not necessarily in the “microaggressions” and “everyone is a racist” way that liberal activists like to portray it. Of course, that general portrayal leads many conservatives to dismiss the research. 

As a Christian, Republican, conservative, psychological scientist, I am here to walk you through the legitimate research on biases and bias correction. In the first four chapters I discuss empirical research on attitudes, persuasion, stereotypes, discrimination, and bias correction. This sets the stage for subsequent chapters that illustrate the concepts using the biases of liberals in the field of psychology as well as general discussions of racial prejudice and politics. How do you correct your biases? When do you try to do it and when do you just let it slide and focus on something else? How can you be successful at it? Similar to how I write my Psychology Today articles, the book is written for any audience to benefit from. However, I wrote it as if a class full of conservatives came to me and asked me to write about my area of expertise for them without the usual progressive social justice indoctrination. It is important that conservatives support each other’s work, as we continue to fight for our perspective to be heard. This is my contribution towards that goal.