Implicit attitudes and awareness

Synthese 197 (3):1291-1312 (2020)
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I offer here a new hypothesis about the nature of implicit attitudes. Psy- chologists 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 perfor- mances 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.

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Jacob Berger
Lycoming College


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