Long ago; over 30 years in fact, I realised that self-deception is a major hindrance to clear and good thinking.
I recognised that humility is a key ‘antidote’ to self-deception and implicit bias.
What is implicit bias?
Wikipedia (Implicit stereotype) says:
“An implicit bias, or implicit stereotype, is the unconscious attribution of particular qualities to a member of a certain social group.
Implicit stereotypes are influenced by experience, and are based on learned associations between various qualities and social categories, including race or gender. Individuals’ perceptions and behaviors can be affected by implicit stereotypes, even without the individuals’ intention or awareness. Implicit bias is an aspect of implicit social cognition, the phenomenon that perceptions, attitudes, and stereotypes operate without conscious intention. The existence of implicit bias is supported by a variety of scientific articles in psychological literature. Implicit stereotype were first defined by psychologists Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji in 1995.
Explicit stereotypes are the result of intentional, conscious, and controllable thoughts and beliefs. Explicit bias’ are usually directed toward a group of people based on what is being perceived. An explicit stereotype example for gender, would be that all adolescent girls like to play with dolls and makeup.
Implicit bias’ are associations learned through past experiences. Implicit bias’ can be activated by the environment, and operate outside of intentional conscious cognition.”
We can see aspects of the subconscious mind at work here. The above quote states: “Individuals’ perceptions and behaviors can be affected by implicit stereotypes, even without the individuals’ intention or awareness”.
If we think we are not subject to bias, then we are in fact deluded.
And guess what?
We might not see our bias, though often, other people see what is in us!
Do you really want to: 1) continue with your delusions, and: 2) want others to know you better than you know yourself and form opinions about you accordingly? These opinions may lead to actions by others which you might not like.
Scientific American has more information:
How to Think about “Implicit Bias”: Amidst a controversy, it’s important to remember that implicit bias is real—and it matters.
The article highlights some potential shortcomings of implicit bias testing.
Scientific American writes:
“One reason people on both the right and the left are skeptical of implicit bias might be pretty simple: it isn’t nice to think we aren’t very nice. It would be comforting to conclude, when we don’t consciously entertain impure intentions, that all of our intentions are pure. Unfortunately, we can’t conclude that: many of us are more biased than we realize. And that is an important cause of injustice—whether you know it or not.”
AKA (Also known as): Scientists say you might have a bias.
One of the first steps in freeing yourself of implicit bias is to acknowledge you might have an issue; and one way of confirming that is to take some tests.
Harvard University’s implicit association test can help you determine the types of prejudice – including those related to gender, sexual orientation, self-esteem, anxiety, alcohol, religion, weight, race and mental illness – you may want to confront.
The tests: Project Implicit https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/
More information about the project: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/aboutus.html
Besides the obvious moral benefits to reducing personal bias, there are significant business advantages too. Look at the statistics in the following two Forbes articles for example:
“Inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87% of the time. • Teams that follow an inclusive process make decisions 2X faster with 1/2 the meetings. • Decisions made and executed by diverse teams delivered 60% better results.”
Your bias might be costing you a lot of money!
Book: Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald.
If you would like help with reducing bias please get in touch with me. I help people with bias for a variety of reasons which include my knowledge of subconscious mind coaching, and also because I was once a severely biased thinker. When one has ‘been there, done that, it’s easier to help others.