Our brains are exquisitely skilled in observing co-variation in the world. When we see time and time again that the presence of dark clouds precedes the fall of rain, we learn to associate clouds and rain. The repeated exposure to this co-variation means that over time, an implicit cognitive association is formed between these two concepts…such that when I say dark clouds, others might even look up in anticipation of rain we would expect to follow.
This type of association often helps us navigate the world around us but can become problematic when we start to form these co-variations based on cultural expectations about others that are different from us. These co-variations are what form biases and just as dark clouds don’t always indicate rain is coming, so too are many of our unconscious biases about others inaccurate.
It’s important to remember that we all have biases (and these are formed by our culture, experience, personal connections, etc.) and these biases may affect our behavior. But by being aware of our biases and their influence, we can take steps to change those behaviors to reduce our bias through education and increasing exposure of other people, places, and things.
Check out our Prezi presentation to learn more about Unconscious Bias and what you can do to reduce your own bias: http://prezi.com/smipvsl7jreq/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy
And if you want to assess your own unconscious bias, visit Harvard’s Implicit Association Test: www.implicit.harvard.edu