Your Voice: Are you unconsciously biased?
Anvesha Kumar looks at the negative consequences from unconscious bias and we can spot the trait.
Our unconscious is what takes place in our mind below the level of our conscious awareness. While our conscious mind is home to the thoughts, feelings, and memories that we acknowledge, the unconscious mind consists of deeper processes not easily recognized by our conscious mind. Many of the elements that help us make judgments and decisions are processed outside of our awareness.
Unconscious bias is our tendency to act in ways that are prompted by assumptions and biases that we are not aware of. Unconscious bias can be present in organizations and groups, as well as influencing the behaviors and decisions of individuals.
When behaviors and decisions are influenced by unconscious bias, incomplete and inaccurate information is being used. This can lead to errors in reasoning that may cause people to reach the wrong conclusions. Also, unconscious bias (especially when linked to gender, ethnicity, or disability, for example) can have negative consequences, including unfair treatment and discrimination.
Examples of unconscious bias include:
- Ageism, which refers to stereotyping or discriminating against others based on their age.
- Confirmation bias, which is the tendency to use information that confirms our views and expectations.
- Affinity bias, which is the tendency to favor people who share similar interests, backgrounds, and experiences.
Unconscious bias can restrict our capacity to solve problems, hinder our professional performance, erode the accuracy of our memories, hinder our ability to react appropriately, exacerbate anxiety and despair, harm our relationships, and more.
Unconscious bias training raises awareness of the shortcuts we make in our minds that lead to snap decisions. Its goal is to reduce bias in attitudes and behaviors. According to experts, effective unconscious bias training teaches us to manage our biases, change our behavior, and monitor our progress. It’s not just a one-time session; it’s about committing to longer term changes.
It's unreasonable to expect us to completely overcome unconscious bias. But it is important to recognize that it is likely to be influencing our actions, behaviors, and decisions. Along with seeking out unconscious bias training, try to avoid making rushed or instinctive decisions, and work with others to adopt more objective perspectives.
- Anvesha is a 10th grade student at the American School of Dhahran
Your Voice reflects the thoughts and opinions of the writer, and not necessarily those of the publication.