SFI External Professor Mahzarin Banaji was recognized during Yale University's 2024 commencement ceremony for helping to "establish the role that unconscious processes play in governing human social action." (image: courtesy Mahzarin Banaji)

SFI External Professor Mahzarin Banaji (Harvard University) received an honorary doctorate from Yale University during its 2024 commencement ceremony. Granted the degree of Doctor of Social Science, Banaji was one of nine honorary graduates. 

Banaji is an experimental psychologist who studies how human thoughts and feelings unfold in social contexts. At SFI, she contributes her cognitive science and psychology expertise to explorations of human behaviors and decision-making. 

Each year, Yale confers honorary degrees to scholars who have made pioneering achievements and exemplary contributions to their fields. Banaji received her degree with the following acknowledgment:

“Groundbreaking scholar whose pioneering work has helped establish the role that unconscious processes play in governing human social action, you have educated us to appreciate how our judgment of others may spring, not from conscious dislike or animosity, but from implicit biases we do not recognize or understand. These ‘mind bugs’ occur outside of our awareness or control and give rise to prejudices based on race, gender, age, and other characteristics. Intrepid investigator whose work has opened minds and hearts by illuminating what leads us to categorize others, we are pleased to admit explicit bias in your favor as we honor a beloved former Yale faculty member with the degree of Doctor of Social Science.”

During the ceremony, Banaji encouraged the graduating class of 2024 to continue their own pursuits of discovery. “You leave Yale with a dazzling set of talents and values enriched by your education,” she said. “Use these talents and values to create light, and to doggedly pursue the truth. With Lux et Veritas, bear witness.”