Personal Bias

Examining Personal Bias

  • Video and transcript from Facing History and Ourselves: Binna Kandola: Diffusing Bias.
    From the transcript:
    "The world is not divided up into those people who have bias and those who don't. It is divided up, though, into those people who recognize they have bias and those people who think they have none. And ironically-- and the work on unconscious bias is full of ironies-- one of the ironies is that those people who believe they have no bias probably are the most biased because there's no reflection going on. If I believed I had no bias, why on earth would I ever need to reflect on my behavior, review my decisions, or change anything about myself? Because I'm perfectly content in what I'm doing."

What is bias?

  • Bias is a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others, which often results in treating some people unfairly.
  • Explicit bias refers to attitudes and beliefs (positive or negative) that we consciously or deliberately hold and express about a person or group. Explicit and implicit biases can sometimes contradict each other.
  • Implicit (unconscious) bias includes attitudes and beliefs (positive or negative) about other people, ideas, issues, or institutions that occur outside of our conscious awareness and control, which affect our opinions and behavior. Everyone has implicit biases—even people who try to remain objective (e.g., judges and journalists)—that they have developed over a lifetime. However, people can work to combat and change these biases.
  • Confirmation bias, or the selective collection of evidence, is our tendency to seek and interpret information and other evidence in ways that affirm our existing beliefs, ideas, expectations, and/or hypotheses. Therefore, confirmation bias is both affected by and feeds our implicit biases. It can be most entrenched around beliefs and ideas that we are strongly attached to or that provoke a strong emotional response.

Videos and Articles about Bias

Credit for some of the content of this page: Facing History and Ourselves. Lesson 3: "Confirmation and Other Biases."