If you are human, you are biased. Howard J. Ross
Understanding Human Bias
Bias is a preference in favor of, or against a person, group of people, or thing. These initial human reactions, which are often unconscious, are rooted in inaccurate information or reason and are potentially harmful. Biases are also part of being human. Once we know and accept we have bias, we can begin to recognize our own patterns of thinking. With awareness and a conscious effort, we have the power to change how we think and to challenge the negative or harmful biases within ourselves.
Why are we all biased?
Bias is how our minds streamline thinking so we can quickly make sense of the world. Our brains are biologically designed to perform these quick judgments unconsciously. In early prehistory, this unconscious, streamlined thinking was a form of protection against threats from the natural world. Over time, this way of processing has persisted between individuals and groups of people. When acknowledging another person or group, the brain intuitively forms an opinion – good, bad, or indifferent - often minimizing the complexity and humanity of others. Although bias is automatic, with practice, we can learn to change our thinking to allow a fuller, more nuanced understanding of others.
Learn more: Watch Howard Ross explain the science of human bias.
There is no such thing as immaculate perception. Jerry Kang
Everything we see, hear, or feel is affected by our biases.
We all have unique experiences that have shaped our version of the truth and created the lens through which we see the world. Humans operate on bias, either consciously or subconsciously.
- Explicit Bias
Biases that you are consciously aware of, and that you admit to yourself and potentially others.
- Implicit Bias
These are biases that are subtly expressed. We don’t initially detect or intend implicit biases, but they can become more apparent with tools and careful self-introspection.
Learn More: In the TEDx Talk “Immaculate Perception,” UCLA professor Dr. Jerry Kang explains what the Harvard University Project Implicit Study reveals about human nature and society: