Mahzarin Banaji

Mahzarin Rustum Banaji FBA (born 1956)[1] is an American psychologist at Harvard University, known for her work popularizing the concept of implicit bias in regards to race, gender, sexual orientation, and other factors.

Mahzarin Rustum Banaji
Banaji in 2015
Born1956 (age 6263)
Alma materOsmania University, Ohio State University
Known forImplicit Association Test
Scientific career
FieldsSocial psychology
InstitutionsYale University, Harvard University

Education and career

She was born and raised in Secunderabad to a Parsi family, where she attended St. Ann's High School. Her BA is from Nizam College and her MA in psychology from Osmania University in Hyderabad. In 1986, Banaji received a PhD from The Ohio State University and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at University of Washington. From 1986 to 2001 she taught at Yale University, where she was Reuben Post Halleck Professor of Psychology. In 2001, she moved to Harvard University as Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics in the Department of Psychology. She also served as the first Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study from 2002 to 2008. In 2005, Banaji was elected fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008.[1] In 2009, she was named Herbert A. Simon Fellow[2] of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. She was elected as a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 2015.[3] In 2016, the Association for Psychological Science named Banaji one of its William James Fellows, an award given to outstanding contributors to scientific psychology.[4] She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2018.[5]

Current affiliations

Banaji is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association (Divisions 1, 3, 8 and 9), and the Association for Psychological Science. She served as Secretary of the APS, on the Board of Scientific Affairs of the APA, and on the Executive Committee of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. Banaji was President of the Association for Psychological Science[6] in 2010–2011.

Banaji has served as Associate Editor of Psychological Review and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and co-edited Essays in Social Psychology for Psychology Press. She serves on an advisory board of the Oxford University Press on Social Cognition and Social Neuroscience. She has served or serves on the editorial board of several journals, among them Psychological Science, Psychological Review, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Social Cognition, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Third Millennium Foundation, among other organizations.

Banaji was Director of Undergraduate Studies at Yale and is now Head Tutor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard.

Honors and awards

Most recently, she received U.S. Congress' Golden Goose Award, was inducted as a member to the National Academy of Sciences, named a Distinguished Member of Psi Chi, an International Honor Society in Psychology, received the Scientific Impact Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, Distinguished Cognitive Scientist Award from the University of California, Distinguished Theoretical and Empirical Contributions to Basic Research in Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association, the Campbell Award for Distinguished Scholarly Achievement and Ongoing Sustained Excellence in Research in Social Psychology from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, Distinguished Alumnus Award, from The Ohio State University, William James Fellow Award for a Lifetime of Significant Intellectual Contributions to the Basic Science of Psychology from the Association for Psychological Science, Kurt Lewin Award for Outstanding Contributions to Psychological Research and Social Action from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and Corresponding Fellow from the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Among her other awards, she has received Yale's Lex Hixon Prize for Teaching Excellence, a James McKeen Cattell Fund Award, the Morton Deutsch Award for Social Justice, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. In 1999, her work with R. Bhaskar received the Gordon Allport Prize for Intergroup Relations.[7] Her career contributions have been recognized by a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association in 2007, the Diener Award for Outstanding Contributions to Social Psychology in 2008,[8] and the APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Psychology from the American Psychological Association in 2017.[9] She was also awarded an honorary doctorate degree by Carnegie Mellon University in 2017.[10] Banaji was honored alongside Anthony Greenwald and Brian Nosek by the American Association for the Advancement of Science with a 2018 Golden Goose Award for their work on implicit bias.[11]

Research and theory

With Anthony Greenwald and Brian Nosek, she maintains an educational website, Project Implicit, designed to create awareness about unconscious bias.

Banaji studies human thinking and feeling as it unfolds in social contexts. Her focus is primarily on mental systems that operate in implicit or unconscious mode. In particular, she is interested in the unconscious nature of assessments of self and other humans that reflect feelings and knowledge (often unintended) about their social group membership (e.g., age, race/ethnicity, gender, class) that underlie the us/them distinction.

From such study of attitudes and beliefs of adults and children, she asks about the social consequences of unconscious thought and feeling. Banaji's work relies on measures, such as statistical analysis, with which she explores the implications of her work for questions of individual responsibility and social justice in democratic societies.

Major publications

  • Banaji, Mahzarin R. & Crowder, Robert G (September 1989), "The bankruptcy of everyday memory research" (PDF), American Psychologist, 44 (9): 1185–1193, doi:10.1037/0003-066X.44.9.1185 A seminal article on two primary research methods (experimental and ecological) and issues associated with each.
  • Banaji, M.R. & Crowder, R.G (1991), "Some everyday thoughts on ecologically valid methods" (PDF), American Psychologist, 46 (1): 78–79, doi:10.1037/0003-066X.46.1.78. A response to some commentary on their article, and their attempt to clarify some of their points.
  • Greenwald, A. G. & Banaji, M. R. (1995). Implicit social cognition: Attitudes, self-esteem, and stereotypes. Psychological Review, 102, 4-27.
  • Greenwald, A. G., Banaji, M. R., Rudman, L., Farnham, S., Nosek, B. A., & Mellott, D. (2002). A unified theory of implicit attitudes, stereotypes, self-esteem, and self-concept. Psychological Review, 109, 3-25.
  • Green, A. R., Carney, D. R., Pallin, D. J., Ngo, L. H., Raymond, K. L., Iezzoni, L., & Banaji, M. R. (2007). Implicit bias among physicians and its prediction of thrombolysis decisions for black and white patients. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 22, 1231-1238.
  • Greenwald, A. G. & Banaji, M. R. (2013). Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. Delacorte Press, ISBN 978-0553804645

See also


  1. "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  2. "Fellows A-Z". American Academy of Political and Social Science. Archived from the original on 5 December 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  3. "British Academy Fellowship reaches 1,000 as 42 new UK Fellows are welcomed". 16 July 2015.
  4. "Awards and Honors - Association for Psychological Science". Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  5., National Academy of Sciences -. "May 1 2018 NAS Election".
  6. "Past Presidents". Association for Psychological Science. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  7. "Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize Winners" (PDF). The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  8. "The Carol and Ed Diener Award in Social Psychology". Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  9. "APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions". APA. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  10. University, Carnegie Mellon (13 April 2017). "Meg Whitman Named Commencement Speaker - News - Carnegie Mellon University". Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  11. "2018: Implicit Bias, Explicit Science". The Golden Goose Award. Retrieved 13 December 2019.

Further reading

This section includes responses to articles which stimulated considerable discussion, such as Banaji & Crowder's seminal 1989 publication.

  • Darryl Bruce (January 1991), "Mechanistic and functional explanations of memory", American Psychologist, 46 (1): 46–48, doi:10.1037/0003-066x.46.1.46
  • Stephen J. Ceci & Urie Bronfenbrenner (January 1991), "On the demise of everyday memory: "The rumours of my death are much exaggerated"", American Psychologist, 46 (1): 27–31, doi:10.1037/0003-066x.46.1.27
  • Martin A. Conway (January 1991), "In defence of everyday memory", American Psychologist, 46 (1): 19–26, doi:10.1037/0003-066x.46.1.19
  • Morton, John (January 1991), "The bankruptcy of everyday thinking", American Psychologist, 46 (1): 32–33, doi:10.1037/0003-066x.46.1.32
  • Henry L. Roediger III (January 1991), "They read an article?", American Psychologist, 46 (1): 37–40, doi:10.1037/0003-066x.46.1.37
  • Endel Tulving (January 1991), "Memory research is not a zero-sum game", American Psychologist, 46 (1): 41–42, doi:10.1037/0003-066x.46.1.41
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