Implicit attitudes and awareness
I offer here a new hypothesis about the nature of implicit attitudes. Psychologists and philosophers alike often distinguish implicit from explicit attitudes by maintaining that we are aware of the latter, but not aware of the former. Recent experimental evidence, however, seems to challenge this account. It would seem, for example, that participants are frequently quite adept at predicting their own performances on measures of implicit attitudes. I propose here that most theorists in this area have nonetheless overlooked a commonsense distinction regarding how we can be aware of attitudes, a difference that fundamentally distinguishes implicit and explicit attitudes. Along the way, I discuss the implications that this distinction may hold for future debates about and experimental investigations into the nature of implicit attitudes.
KeywordsImplicit attitudes Awareness Consciousness Belief
I thank Ralph Baergen, Zac Gershberg, Rocco Gennaro, Neil Levy, Eric Mandelbaum, Myrto Mylopoulos, Bence Nanay, Jake Quilty-Dunn, Evan Rodriguez, James Skidmore, Brent Strickland, two referees for this journal, as well as the audiences at the Conference on Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Moral Responsibility at Utah Valley University in March 2015, the Anthropology Department Colloquium at Idaho State University in April 2015, and the 2017 Meeting of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology for their helpful discussions of these issues or comments on previous drafts of this material.
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