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33 David Amodio - The Science of Prejudice

33 David Amodio - The Science of Prejudice

When the audio of LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling telling his girlfriend not to "bring black people" to his team's games hit the Internet, the condemnations were immediate. It was clear to all that Sterling was a racist, and the punishment was swift: the NBA banned him for life. It was, you might say, a pretty straightforward case.

When you take a look at the emerging science of what motivates people to behave in a racist or prejudiced way, though, matters quickly grow complicated. In fact, if there's one cornerstone finding when it comes to the psychological underpinnings of prejudice, it's that actual out-and-out or "explicit" racists—like Sterling—are just one part of the story. Perhaps far more common are cases of so-called "implicit" prejudice, where people harbor subconscious biases, of which they may not even be aware, but that come out in controlled psychology experiments.

Much of the time, these are not the sort of people whom we would normally think of as racists. "They m