Implicit bias (or unconscious bias) is an important consideration for every team member, manager, and leader. The Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University defines implicit bias as:
…the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. Residing deep in the subconscious, these biases are different from known biases that individuals may choose to conceal for the purposes of social and/or political correctness. Rather, implicit biases are not accessible through introspection.
The implicit associations we harbor in our subconscious cause us to have feelings and attitudes about other people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, and appearance. These associations develop over the course of a lifetime beginning at a very early age through exposure to direct and indirect messages. In addition to early life experiences, the media and news programming are often-cited origins of implicit associations.
Again from the Kirwan Institute:
- Implicit biases are pervasive. Everyone possesses them, even people with avowed commitments to impartiality such as judges.
- Implicit and explicit biases are related but distinct mental constructs. They are not mutually exclusive and may even reinforce each other.
- The implicit associations we hold do not necessarily align with our declared beliefs or even reflect stances we would explicitly endorse.
- We generally tend to hold implicit biases that favor our own ingroup, though research has shown that we can still hold implicit biases against our ingroup.
- Implicit biases are malleable. Our brains are incredibly complex, and the implicit associations that we have formed can be gradually unlearned through a variety of debiasing techniques.
- Course Description: We all have deep-rooted ways of thinking based on experiences and past history, which creates Unconscious Biases. However, it is important that organizations help employees fight against bias in order to create work environments that support and encourage the differences in people. Unconscious bias can influence our work experiences and interactions, from hiring to performance reviews to promotions, as well as organizational culture. (free, approximately 45-60 minutes)
- In this course, you’ll deepen your understanding of unconscious biases, how they influence behavior, and how they impact us all. You’ll also learn numerous actions you can take to help counter bias in your own work environment. This course begins with a brief introduction to unconscious bias. In the scenarios that follow, you’ll explore bias and what you can do about it through video scenarios, interactive exercises and opportunities for reflection. (free, approximately 30 minutes)
Shift Yes provides free learning with videos and more. Topics include:
- How Leaders Can Step into Conversations about Race at Work
- Representation & Inclusion in the Workplace
- How Unconcious Bias Impacts Teams & Business
- Diversity & Inclusion: What if I Say the Wrong Thing?
- 4 Ways Companies Get D&I Wrong (and How to Do it Right)
- Diversity & Inclusion: The Value of Diverse Perspectives
UCLA Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Implicit Bias Video Series
- Course Description. This publicly accessible video series begins with an introductory video that describes how biases and heuristics can influence our decision-making and behavior without us even knowing it. It is then followed by six short video lessons on the following topics:
- Lesson 1: Schemas (mental short-cuts that help us navigate the world around us)
- Lesson 2: Attitudes and Stereotypes
- Lesson 3: Real World Consequences
- Lesson 4: Explicit vs. Implicit Bias
- Lesson 5: The IAT (Implicit Association Test – learn more about the IAT at Project Implicit)
- Lesson 6: Countermeasures