Unconscious bias (or implicit bias) is often defined as prejudice or unsupported judgments in favor of or against one thing, person, or group as compared to another, in a way that is usually considered unfair. Many researchers suggest that unconscious bias occurs automatically as the brain makes quick judgments based on past experiences and background. As a result of unconscious biases, certain people benefit and other people are penalized. In contrast, deliberate prejudices are defined as conscious bias (or explicit bias). Although we all have biases, many unconscious biases tend to be exhibited toward minority groups based on factors such as class, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, religious beliefs, age, disability and more.
Social scientists are in the early stages of determining how to “debias.” It is clear that media and culture makers have a role to play by ceasing to perpetuate stereotypes in news and popular culture. In the meantime, institutions and individuals can identify risk areas where our implicit biases may affect our behaviors and judgments. Instituting specific procedures of decision making and encouraging people to be mindful of the risks of implicit bias can help us avoid acting according to biases that are contrary to our conscious values and beliefs.
Implicit bias is a universal phenomenon, not limited by race, gender, or even country of origin. Take this test to see how it works for you: Implicit Bias Test
Perception Institute: retrieved from: https://perception.org/research/implicit-bias/
The Roundtable was launched at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 2019 to identify key levers, drivers, and disruptors in government, industry, health care, and higher education where actions can have the most impact on increasing the participation of Black men and Black women in science, medicine, and engineering.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. The Impacts of Racism and Bias on Black People Pursuing Careers in Science, Engineering, and Medicine: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25849.
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