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As CA Attorney General launches implicit bias training, a look behind the science




Jayla, aged 4, plays with a 'My Friend Cayla' doll in the Hamleys toy shop on June 26, 2014 in London, England. Previous research has indicated that both black and white children prefer lighter skinned dolls
Jayla, aged 4, plays with a 'My Friend Cayla' doll in the Hamleys toy shop on June 26, 2014 in London, England. Previous research has indicated that both black and white children prefer lighter skinned dolls
Rob Stothard/Getty Images

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Attorney General Kamala Harris on Friday released the results of an internal California Department of Justice review looking at implicit bias and use of force in its special agent training programs.

She also announced the development of an implicit bias training program for law enforcement in the state, the first program in the country.

The concept of implicit bias – defined as unconscious attitudes or stereotypes that we’ve internalized that affect the way we act – has been gaining social and cultural traction after a series of police killings of unarmed black men.

But the debate over the theory is far from over. In this segment, we look at the competing science behind it.

Guests:

Sharon Davies, professor of law, Ohio State University; Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, which publishes a yearly study on implicit bias called “State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review.” The latest edition came out in 2014

Gregory Mitchell, Professor of Law  at the University of Virginia, whose scholarship focuses on legal judgment and decision-making, the psychology of justice, and the application of social science to legal theory and policy. One of his research focus areas is implicit bias