Our ability to make decisions quickly can help speed things up, but at the same time, it can also cause misjudgments based on inaccurate information. That is the process of the formation and effect of unconscious bias.

What is unconscious bias?

We have had the opportunity to come into contact with a wealth of information throughout our lives. The brain takes information and uses it to make connections and visualize the world, helping you to understand how things work.

Many of those connections are very helpful. For example, when we see the red light, our reaction is to stop. That makes traffic convenient and ensures safety for everyone. On the contrary, many other connections are not entirely true and helpful.

Unconscious bias leads to wrong decisions

When thinking about women, for example, many people assume that their role is to be housewives and to stay home to take care of their children, instead of going to work and make money. You may think that ethnic minorities will not be able to get high positions. Or you might think that young people are ignorant and have to listen to adult arrangements. Those are unconscious biases that can have a negative impact on us.

Necessity of removing unconscious bias

Do you think white people deserve a higher salary than people of color? Women should not be recruited and paid the same salary as men or not? Is it true that a CEO with a better height will run his work more efficiently? I don’t think so. It is a huge injustice that is mainly based on unimportant social judgment.

To avoid unconscious bias, you need to go through thought-changing processes and practice good habits for the brain’s information processing. This is very difficult because unconscious biases have been formed since we were very young. And under the influence of our surroundings, that bias is further strengthened. Here are some things you can use to overcome or control those biases.

You can try many ways to avoid unconscious biases

Increase exposure to different groups of people

Research has shown that, if we come into contact with many different groups of people, our bias is lessened. Get to know and talk to people you admire and those with broad knowledge. That will give you new information and reduce your unconscious bias.

Cover your eyes with information that easily causes bias

Before making an important decision without wanting it to be affected negatively, try to ignore information that easily makes you biased. For example, when you are hiring new staff, ask someone to remove the candidate’s information regarding gender, age, social relations, and other non-work-related factors.

Make a plan for your decision

In order not to be influenced by outside information, take the time to think about what important criteria you want to base your judgment on. Evaluating based on drawing objective criteria helps you to make more accurate decisions and avoid bias.

Get to know important criteria before making your judgement

Oppose the stereotypes

Unconscious biases are based on stereotypes in your brain. What you need to do is break those stereotypes by absorbing new information. For example, if your brain is suffering from the stereotypes that it is difficult for women to advance quickly at work, read about successful role models as women, and watch motivational films about influential and powerful women in society.

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