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New research has revealed the more racist or sexist a person is, the more likely they are to underestimate their own prejudice.

Goldsmiths, University of London’s Dr. Keon West and the Center for Women and Gender Studies’ Dr. Asia Eaton found that on average people overestimated their egalitarianism by 25% (racism) and 19% (sexism).

148 people were recruited through a voluntary racism-related diversity training program in London. Prior to the training, participants reported what they thought was their level of racial egalitarianism compared to others. Then they were measured on a rating scale regarding how they felt towards people of color. They then took park in a two-hour diversity training program before re-reporting their self-perceptions. A second study of 159 people focused on self-perceived and externally measured sexism.

Dr. West, Associate Professor in Social Psychology at Goldsmiths said “This research provides important evidence that being egalitarian may not simply be a matter of choice or motivation, but also a matter of skill or ability.”

Dr. Eaton argues that highly prejudiced individuals deny their level of bias in part because they lack meta-cognitive skills, higher order thinking skills or being aware of one’s awareness, to recognize their own lack of egalitarianism.