Unconscious Biases: What Are They?
What Are Unconscious Biases?
Unconscious biases (also known as implicit biases) are unconsciously attributed attitudes or stereotypes to another person/group of people. They affect how people understand and interact with that person/group.
Bias can be defined as a prejudice in favor or against one thing, person or group, usually in an unfair way. A person, group or institution can hold biases and they may have positive or negative consequences.
Implicit biases are all around. They are present in everyone, even those with an commitment to impartiality like judges. Both implicit and explicit biases can be related, but they are distinct mental constructs. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, they may strengthen each other.
Unconscious biases refer to social stereotypes that people have about certain groups of people, but they are not conscious. Unconscious biases are beliefs that people have about different identity and social groups. These biases result from the tendency to categorise social worlds.
Even if we try to be fair, our brains will categorise information to save time. These categories can be seen as mental shortcuts that allow us to process information quicker through prediction. This is why we automatically place people in categories based on their skin colour, weight and gender. This allows us to save time and energy by categorising, so our brains can be used for other things, however these judgments can be prejudice against another.
Research on unconscious bias in the workplace has proven time and again that no one is immune. It can take many scientific forms.
Understanding of Unconscious Biases can help us in areas of increased innovation, creativity, and productivity in groups; improved relationship-building and community-building; greater inclusion, equity, and appreciation of diversity.
Organisational Methods To Improve
Research has shown that hiring is fair and impartial. In hiring people, unconscious racism, ageism and sexism all play a significant role. There are steps that you can take to reduce your unconscious biases. You can help hire fairly by looking at your hiring process and eliminating biases.
Unconscious bias can be addressed by first examining your beliefs, values and perceptions. How have your experiences shaped your worldview or narrative? What do these experiences have to do with your relationships with others? Psychologists say that implicit biases are formed by our lived experiences. Implicit biases can be learned from the society or community where we live. We are exposed to images, ideologic perspectives and other information in our early years of life that can shape our perspective. Once you have identified the areas where your experiences affect your policies, procedures, and methods, then you can fix or modify them to eliminate Bias.
Critical reflection can help you challenge unconscious biases. It starts with looking within yourself. This is the act of looking inwardly to make yourself more clear.
How Can You Benefit?
These concepts can be applied to diversity and inclusion. The workplace should allow individuals to showcase their talents and abilities in meaningful and productive ways, without prejudices or stereotypes.
It is important to remember that reducing unconscious bias and increasing inclusion are long-term goals. They require constant attention, repetition, and a combination general strategies that can be used to have a positive impact on all people affected by bias.
It takes more than a climate survey, vision statement or creation of a diversity committee to create change. By establishing institutional capacity for change, organisations must make a commitment to culture shift.
Unconscious Bias Training
There are many ways that individuals can learn about unconscious bias. These include attending workshops, seminars, short courses, webinars, and taking part in on-line courses. Holistic training provides information on how to identify and defeat such biases in individuals, groups, organisations, and society as a whole. Information about the structural dynamics of society that perpetuate unconscious biases should be included in training. Individuals can use practical strategies to combat unconscious bias in both their professional and personal lives.
You could be opening yourself up for unconscious bias if you act on your gut instincts or kneejerk reactions. Even if you don’t believe in stereotypes, this could lead to unfair discrimination or favoritism for those affected by your actions. Diversity Inclusion and Equal Opportunity starts with learning how to improve your business in this area. Call us for more information or training.