The Neurology of Bias, and a Visit with Thundercat

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Most of us have biases and prejudices we don’t acknowledge—or aren’t even aware of. Admitting those biases is a baseline of political “wokeness.” But measuring and proving bias, and showing how it works, is another matter. Jennifer Eberhardt is a social psychologist at Stanford University who studies these issues through neuroimaging and other experiments. Bias, in her view, is not merely a learned phenomenon but one that involves neurological patterns that are “tuned” by cultural experience. And it may operate most prominently in situations where people have the least time for reflection. Eberhardt says that intervening on a policy level to reduce the consequences of bias involves slowing down decision-making in critical situations such as policing. She spoke with David Remnick about her new book, “Biased.” Plus, Briana Younger, a music editor at The New Yorker, visits with the bassist and producer who helped make Kendrick Lamar’s album “To Pimp a Butterfly.” He goes by Thundercat.

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