Strategies to Reduce Implicit Bias

How Can We Reduce Bias?


  • Motives to Reduce Bias

    Reasons to reduce personal biases:

    Create a more equitable society

    Eliminate prejudices against people or groups you didn't even know you had

    Recognizing your own biases is the first step in building strong relationships and communities

    Implicit biases often diverge or differentiate from what one states, thinks, or feels they really believe

    Biases almost always work to the detriment of the lower status group Implicit biases are powerful determinants of behavior

    Eliminating biases helps remove
    "ingroup" and "outgroup" stigma

    Reduce discrimination due to implicit biases Implicit biases are malleable, thus behaviors can be changed

     

     

  •  Individual Strategies to Reduce Implicit Bias Effects

    Deliberative, Conscious Processing

    Implicit bias occurs because of automatic thinking. Conscious, deliberative thinking minimizes and potentially disrupts the link between implicit biases and overt actions. Take time to process information and consider how implicit bias(es) may be influencing decisions.

    Suggestions

    • Learn meditation techniques. Engage in mindfulness meditation as a way to slow down in general.
    • Someone shares an experience that is unfamiliar or counters your own observations. You can ask questions to encourage dialogue and actively listen to others’ experiences. If you have a different interpretation of an event, share your view as an alternative, not as a challenge to another’s perspective.
    • Ask yourself: “How would I feel if someone asked me that question?”
    • Learn the history of communities different from yours.

     

    Perspective Taking

    Perspective taking increases empathy. Dialogue and communication with members from other groups creates an inclusive culture. Engage in respectful dialogue and actively listen to different others’ points of view.

    Suggestions

    • Someone shares an experience that is unfamiliar or counters your own observations. You can ask questions to encourage dialogue and actively listen to others’ experiences. If you have a different interpretation of an event, share your view as an alternative, not as a challenge to another’s perspective.
    • Ask yourself: “How would I feel if someone asked me that question?”
    • Learn the history of communities different from yours.

     

    Intergroup Contact

    Positive interaction with other groups’ members decreases the likelihood that biases will be applied. Engage in activities that include individuals from diverse backgrounds. Interact with members of groups with which one does not usually come into regular contact.

    Suggestions

    • Attend functions that celebrate various social identities and ethnic groups.
    • Make it a point to meet and befriend people different from you.

     


     

    This content was adapted from the following sources:

    Carnes, M., et al. (2015). The effect of an intervention to break the gender bias habit for faculty at one institution: A cluster randomized, controlled trial. Academic Medicine, 90, 221-230.

    Corrice, A. Unconscious bias in faculty and leadership recruitment: A literature review. (2009, August). Analysis in Brief. Retrieved from https://www.aamc.org/download/102364/data/aibvol9no2.pdf

    Devine, P. G., Forscher, P. S., Austin, A. J., & Cox, W. T. L. (2012). Long-term reduction in implicit race bias: A prejudice habit-breaking intervention. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(6), 1267–1278. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2012.06.003

    Google (2016).  Google's Unconscious Bias @ Work Facilitator Guide. Retrieved from https://rework.withgoogle.com/guides/unbiasing-hold-everyone-accountable/steps/give-your-own-unbiasing-workshop/

    Handout prepared by Drs. Adam Fingerhut and Nora A. Murphy, Department of Psychology, Loyola Marymount University 2017.

  •  Structural Strategies to Reduce Implicit Bias Effects

    Allow ample time for decision-making

    Conscious, deliberative thinking minimizes and potentially disrupts the link between implicit biases and overt actions. Provide time for important decision-making.

    Suggestions

    • Schedule meetings with adequate time.
    • Do not make important decisions in the heat of the moment.

     

    Consider the organizational environment

    Subtle messages could be conveyed via physical and social environments.

    Suggestions

    • Evaluate physical environments with attention towards reducing subtle messages that convey stereotypes.
    • Create environments to encourage intergroup contact.

     

    Require accountability

    Having individuals, programs, and departments accountable for their decision-making potentially disrupts the link between implicit biases and overt actions.

    Suggestions

    • Have evaluation procedures in place that require individuals, programs, committees, and departments to report their decision-making processes.
    • Remind people that they may be called on to explain their actions and decisions.

     

    Collect and analyze data

    Document patterns and outcomes over time to uncover successful and unsuccessful strategies.

    Suggestions

    • Have assessment procedures to evaluate program outcomes.
    • Participate in assessment surveys and activities. Attend sessions reporting results.

     

    Conduct structured interview processes 

    Setting criteria ahead of time helps reduce the possibility of implicit bias affecting candidates. Set criteria to assess job skills needed for successful job performance.

    Suggestions

    • Train interviewers on how to conduct structured interviews.
    • Assess new hiring procedures to measure the effectiveness of interview strategies.

     

    Create an inclusive environment and increase implicit bias awareness

    An open-dialogue environment encourages communication. Increased bias literacy reduces potential bias effects. Create an open culture where individuals can acknowledge their biases and can respond to others’ biases.

    Suggestions

    • Encourage dialogue across units, departments, etc.
    • Provide education about implicit biases processes and how to reduce their effects.

     

     

    Content was adapted from the following sources:

    Carnes, M., et al. (2015). The effect of an intervention to break the gender bias habit for faculty at one institution: A cluster randomized, controlled trial. Academic Medicine, 90, 221-230.

    Corrice, A. Unconscious bias in faculty and leadership recruitment: A literature review. (2009, August). Analysis in Brief. Retrieved from https://www.aamc.org/download/102364/data/aibvol9no2.pdf

    Devine, P. G., Forscher, P. S., Austin, A. J., & Cox, W. T. L. (2012). Long-term reduction in implicit race bias: A prejudice habit-breaking intervention. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(6), 1267–1278. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2012.06.003

    Google (2016).  Google's Unconscious Bias @ Work Facilitator Guide. Retrieved from https://rework.withgoogle.com/guides/unbiasing-hold-everyone-accountable/steps/give-your-own-unbiasing-workshop/

    Prepared by Drs. Adam Fingerhut and Nora A. Murphy, Department of Psychology, Loyola Marymount University 2017.

  • Here are some helpful articles on how to combat everyday Implicit Bias: