What we know now about bias and intergroup conflict, the problem of the century

Susan T. Fiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

263 Scopus citations


After nearly a century's study, what do psychologists now know about intergroup bias and conflict? Most people reveal unconscious, subtle biases, which are relatively automatic, cool, indirect, ambiguous, and ambivalent. Subtle biases underlie ordinary discrimination: comfort with one's own in-group, plus exclusion and avoidance of out-groups. Such biases result from internal conflict between cultural ideals and cultural biases. A small minority of people, extremists, do harbor blatant biases that are more conscious, hot, direct, and unambiguous. Blatant biases underlie aggression, including hate crimes. Such biases result from perceived intergroup conflict over economics and values, in a world perceived to be hierarchical and dangerous. Reduction of both subtle and blatant bias resuits from education, economic opportunity, and constructive intergroup contact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-128
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


  • Bias
  • Discrimination
  • Intergroup conflict
  • Prejudice
  • Stereotyping


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