New research from the Yale Child Study Center suggests that many preschool teachers look for disruptive behavior in much the same way: in just one place, waiting for it to appear.
The problem with this strategy (besides it being inefficient), is that, because of implicit bias, teachers are spending too much time watching black boys and expecting the worst.
Lead researcher Walter Gilliam knew that to get an accurate measure of implicit bias among preschool teachers, he couldn't be fully transparent with his subjects about what, exactly, he was trying to study.
Implicit biases are just that — subtle, often subconscious stereotypes that guide our expectations and interactions with people.
"We all have them," Gilliam says. "Implicit biases are a natural process by which we take information, and we judge people on the basis of generalizations regarding that information. We all do it."
Even the most well-meaning teacher can harbor deep-seated biases, whether she knows it or not. So Gilliam and his team devised a remarkable — and remarkably deceptive — experiment.