Mahzarin R. Banaji, Short Biography

(Pronunciation: maaz-uh-REEN buh-NAA-jee)

Mahzarin R. Banaji received her PhD From Ohio State University and did postdoctoral work at the University of Washington. From 1986-2001 she taught at Yale University where she was Reuben Post Halleck Professor of Psychology. Since then she has been Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University.

Banaji served as the first Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard from 2002-2008 and as the George A. and Helen Dunham Cowan Chair in Human Dynamics at the Santa Fe Institute, 2011-2015. She is currently Senior Advisor to the Provost at Harvard University.

Banaji was named Harvard College Professor for excellence in undergraduate teaching, previously won Yale’s Lex Hixon Prize for Teaching Excellence and was named Distinguished Member of the honor society, Psi Chi. In 2005, Banaji was elected fellow of the Society for Experimental Psychologists, in 2008 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in 2009 was named Herbert A. Simon Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, in 2015 inducted as Fellow of the British Academy, and in 2018 elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

She has been awarded a James McKeen Cattell Award, the Gordon Allport Prize for Intergroup Relations, the Morton Deutsch Award for Social Justice, the Kurt Lewin Award for outstanding contributions to the integration of psychological research and social action, the Carol and Ed Diener Award for Outstanding Contributions to Social Psychology, SESP’s Award for Scientific Impact and SPSP’s Campbell Award for Distinguished Scholarly Achievement and Ongoing Sustained Excellence in Research in Social Psychology. Banaji has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association.

In 2016 Banaji received the William James Fellow Award for “a lifetime of significant intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology” from the APS, an organization of which she also served as president. In 2017 Banaji received the APA’s Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution. Her contributions have been recognized by Barnard College’s highest honor, the Medal of Distinction (2014) and the Distinguished Cognitive Scientist Award from University of California, Merced (2017). Banaji has also received honorary degrees from Smith College (2015), Colgate University (2016), the University of Helsinki (2016) and Carnegie-Mellon University (2017).

Banaji studies the disparities between conscious expressions of values, attitudes and beliefs on the one hand, and less conscious, implicit representations of mental content. She has primarily studied social attitudes and beliefs in adults and children, relying on multiple methods including cognitive/affective behavioral measures, computational approaches, and neuroimaging. Her work has called for greater consistency between cherished national and personal values on the one hand and policies and individual behavior on the other. In addition to research and university teaching, Banaji’s current efforts are focused on applying evidence from the science of social cognition to improving organizational practices. Her book with Anthony Greenwald, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, was published by Delacorte Press. Her educational project can be found at

For more information on her research and teaching, see

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