December 19, 2013, by Neil Sinclair

Bias and Blame – New Leverhulme Trust project for Department of Philosophy

By Jules Holroyd.

The Leverhulme Trust has awarded a 36 month grant to the University of Nottingham, for a project led by Dr Jules Holroyd (Department of Philosophy, Nottingham), in collaboration with Dr Tom Stafford (Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield) titled “Bias and Blame: Do Moral Interactions Modulate the Expression of Implicit Bias?”.

The aim of the project is to investigate the role of moral interactions in the regulation of implicit bias. The grant will pay for both psychological experiments and philosophical analysis of the phenomena. Dr Robin Scaife (Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield) will join the project as a post-doctoral researcher, based at the University of Sheffield, and a PhD scholarship will be available at the University of Nottingham.

The project will investigate whether moral interactions are a useful tool for regulating implicit bias. Studies have shown that implicit biases – automatic associations which operate without reflective control – can lead to unintentionally differential or unfair treatment of stigmatised individuals. Such biases are widespread, resistant to deliberate moderation, and have a significant role in influencing judgement and action. Strategies for regulating implicit bias have been developed, tested and evaluated by psychologists and philosophers. But neither have explored whether moral interactions, such holding individuals responsible, or blaming for implicit biases may help or hinder their regulation. This is what this project proposes to do.

Project Details: “Bias and Blame: Do Moral Interactions Modulate the Expression of Implicit Bias?” project funded by a Leverhulme Trust grant to the University of Nottingham (£220,608 over 36 months). The project is led by Jules Holroyd (Nottingham) with Tom Stafford (Sheffield) as co-Investigator.


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