Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



What is Unconscious Bias?

Bias is a prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another usually in a way that’s considered to be unfair. Biases may be held by an individual, group, or institution and can have negative or positive consequences.

There are two types of biases:

  1. Conscious bias (also known as explicit bias) and

  2. Unconscious bias (also known as implicit bias)

It is important to note that biases, conscious or unconscious, are not limited to ethnicity and race. Though racial bias and discrimination is well documented, biases may exist toward from any social group. One’s age, gender, gender identity physical abilities, religion, sexual orientation, weight, and many other characteristics are subject to bias.

Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one’s tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing.

Unconscious bias is far more prevalent than conscious prejudice and often incompatible with one’s conscious values. Certain scenarios can activate unconscious attitudes and beliefs. For example, biases may be more prevalent when multi-tasking or working under time pressure.

 

How to Decrease Unconscious Bias

inclusivity

Image source: http://workforcediversitynetwork.com

 

Bias Interrupters Work Group

The Laboratory is currently working with researchers who are engaged on the Bias Interrupters Work Group. The Bias Interrupters Working group is made up of leading companies and researchers. LLNL is collaborating with leading social scientists to look at developing innovative models and best practices for addressing work-place bias by integrating bias-correcting mechanisms into the organization’s processes or systems. For more information on Bias Interrupters and to learn different methods and approaches to defeat implicit bias in the workplace visit: http://biasinterrupters.org/

Harvard Implicit Association Test

Take the Harvard Implicit Association Test – The Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report.

Resources

For further information please read the following articles:


Can Science Help People Unlearn Their Unconscious Biases?

Can Science Help People Unlearn Their Unconscious Biases?

Smithsonian Magazine (July 2, 2015)


Implicit Bias In The Presidential Debate

Implicit Bias In The Presidential Debate

The Huffington Post (September 28, 2016)


Unconscious Bias: It Starts With You and Me

Unconscious Bias: It Starts With You and Me

The Huffington Post (September 28, 2016)


Using Science to Benefit Science, One Decision at a Time Is There Such a Thing as Brain Bias?

Using Science to Benefit Science, One Decision at a Time Is There Such a Thing as Brain Bias?

Paul Chiames, Chief Human Resources Officer, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory