4 Implicit Association Tests That Will Change the Way You Think in the Workplace

What 4 Implicit Association Tests can reveal about your unconscious biases

Unlike explicit bias, which is a belief you know you have, unconscious biases reside in your subconscious mind, so you don’t usually know they are there. IATs can reveal those biases by showing what types of terms or ideas you associate with a concept. For example, you may think you believe that women and men are equally valuable in the workforce. However, an IAT can reveal that you view women as homemakers and men as breadwinners.

1. Race IAT — Project Implicit

Even if you don’t realize it, you might hold biases about people based on their race. The race IAT is designed to detect those biases. For example, some people have a misconception that Black women benefit from “diversity hiring,” which means that they get jobs or promotions simply because of their race. Yet, in 2019, the Center for Talent Innovation reported that just 8 percent of Black careerists hold professional jobs with a mere 3.2 percent in leadership roles. Similarly, Salud America reported that white job seekers got 36 percent more callbacks than Black job seekers and 24 percent more callbacks than Latino job seekers. This IAT could help demonstrate that Black and Latino professionals still face a myriad of challenges in the workplace and are not subject to more lenient hiring practices.

2. Gender-Career IAT — Project Implicit

One of the greatest challenges women face at work is being treated (and paid) equally as their male counterparts. The gender-career IAT is built around some of these challenges. This test draws out attitudes and beliefs you have toward women, men, and the workforce. Featuring keywords such as marriage, laundry, salary, employees, and manager, the gender-career IAT challenges misconceptions you might have about traditional gender roles and whether you unconsciously assign certain roles to women or men.

3. Ability IAT

Accessibility biases are more common than people think. In fact, a 2013 study revealed that 83 percent of study participants held unconscious biases toward individuals with a physical disability. The same participants favored images of individuals who had disabilities but remained active versus images that depicted people with disabilities watching television, talking on the phone, and engaging in less active pastimes. You can use the Ability IAT to identify these similar attitudes you may hold toward differently abled people.

4. Age IAT

Age discrimination has long been a concern of job seekers in the workforce. But, it’s also a valid concern for after you secure the job. Although the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA) was passed in 1967, some middle-aged or elderly employees are viewed as less valuable team members. In 2019, Sherman Law reported that being overlooked for challenging work assignments, or unfairly disciplined were all signs of ageism at work. Even if you believe you value older employees the same as other team members, the Age IAT can help you determine whether you hold biases toward older employees at work.

About our source

Sharon Harington is a diversity and inclusion specialist and implicit bias trainer for a government agency. She has 15 years of experience in managing diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and holds a master’s degree in organizational behavior. She’s excited that current conversations about inclusion are finally catching up to what she has seen and experienced in more than 1,000 implicit bias trainings during her career.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store


At InHerSight, our mission is to improve the workplace for women by measuring it.