社会心理学家Mahzarin Banaji和托尼格林沃尔德在20世纪90年代首次提出了隐含偏见这个词。 1995年，他们发表了内隐社会认知理论，认为个体的社会行为和偏见主要与无意识或隐含的判断有关。这个词在1998年越来越流行，当时Banaji和Greenwald开发了众所周知的内隐联想测试（IAT）来证实他们的假设。 IAT测试通过计算机程序评估无意识偏见的强度。要求受试者观看一个屏幕，该屏幕显示来自不同种族背景的一系列面孔以及一系列正面和负面的词语。研究人员告诉受试者在他们从种族背景X中看到一张脸时点击积极词语，当他们从种族背景Y中看到一张脸时，他们会点击否定词。然后，他们扭转了这种联系，让受试者重复了这一过程。研究人员认为，点击更快意味着该主题有更大的无意识联想。换句话说，在观看某张脸时快速点击“开心”意味着该人在积极特质和种族之间存在紧密的无意识联系。较慢的点击时间意味着个人将正面特征与种族联系起来更困难。随着时间的推移，IAT已经在多个后续试验中成功复制，证明了其证明隐性偏倚的功效。除种族偏见之外，该测试还被成功用于评估与性别和性取向有关的隐性偏见。
Social psychologists Mahzarin Banaji and Tony Greenwald first coined the term implicit bias in the 1990s. In 1995, they published their theory of implicit social cognition, which asserted that individuals’ social behavior and biases are largely related to unconscious, or implicit, judgments. The term grew in popularity in 1998, when Banaji and Greenwald developed the well-known Implicit Association Test (IAT) to confirm their hypothesis. The IAT test assessed the strength of unconscious biases through a computer program. Subjects were asked to observe a screen that displayed a series of faces from different racial backgrounds and a series of positive and negative words. Researchers told the subjects to click on the positive words when they saw a face from racial background X, and the negative words when they saw a face from racial background Y. Then, they reversed the association and had subjects repeat the process. The researchers argued that clicking more quickly meant that the subject had a greater unconscious association. In other words, quickly clicking “happy” when viewing a certain face meant that the individual had a close unconscious association between the positive trait and the race. A slower click time means that the individual had more difficulty associating that the positive trait with the race. Over time, the IAT has been replicated successfully in multiple subsequent trials, demonstrating its efficacy in proving implicit bias. In addition to racial bias, the test has also been used successfully to assess implicit bias related to gender and sexual orientation.