People don’t always say what’s on their minds. One reason is that they are unwilling. For example, someone might not report that they dislike members of a particular group because it is not socially acceptable to do so. Another reason is that they are unable. For example, someone might truly believe that they are fair-minded but not realize that they harbor negative stereotypes. The difference between being unwilling and unable is the difference between purposely hiding something from someone and unknowingly hiding something from yourself.
I am interested in these attitudes that people are unwilling or unable to report, and my research investigates how such implicit attitudes form and how they affect our behavior. Much of my research focuses on prejudice and stereotyping, but I am also working with my students to understand the role of implicit attitudes in a wide variety of domains such as identification with feminism, health decision-making, environmental concern, and moral reasoning.