The Implicit Bias Project

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Understanding the psychological and neurobiological foundations of Implicit Bias.
  Mindbridge is designing training seminars to give insight into how unconscious bias impacts our social behaviors and decisions in our personal and professional worlds. Its goal is to elucidate what prevents and promotes diversity, innovation and inclusion in our social environments.

Implicit bias can be defined as the automatic or neurobiological processes underlying unconscious stereotyping and prejudice guiding the perception and attitude towards social groups. Founded on psychological and neurobiological research, The Implicit Bias Project is a program that offers research-driven instruction paired with practical applications that seek to mitigate implicit bias found within an organization or workplace. In current climates of divisiveness, political unrest and global conflict, Mindbridge aims to foster awareness of implicit biases in order to aid social justice and humanitarian efforts that aim for inclusivity, diversity and acceptance. To stop human rights violations and abuses we must first begin to understand what drives them.

Research shows that we each hold implicit biases, which can drive behaviors that favor our in-group as opposed to out-group members [1]. Past studies on implicit biases also suggest that everyone possesses them, regardless of individual’s explicit description of perceived impartiality [2]. What individuals overtly report about their attitudes and beliefs towards differing social groups does not necessarily give an accurate portrayal of how one unconsciously thinks, feels and, ultimately behaves, towards those same groups. Psychological sciences have advanced research on implicit cognitive biases by developing methods to measure individual’s attitudes without having to ask them directly. One specific example being, the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which measures the strength of associations between two paired concepts, outside of participant’s awareness. Moreover, research shows that implicit attitudes may be better at predicting behaviors than explicit self-reports [3]. Science, however, also points to hopeful solutions which Mindbridge seeks to expand upon: implicit biases have been shown  to be malleable and therefore, can be gradually unlearned and replaced with new mental associations [4].

Building upon this research, Mindbridge’s vision for the Implicit Bias Project is to share knowledge of the common neurobiological origins of unconscious bias in order to develop individual and group focused skills to change our relationship to these processes. The project’s pilot program, Leading Inclusively, seeks to do just that. Developed by Mindbridge in collaboration with Kathleen Jacques of KDJ Consulting Inc., the Leading Inclusively training seminar was presented to Unum/Colonial Life leadership and management teams in early 2017. The six-month workshop aimed to increase awareness of how unconscious perceptions impact stereotypes, choices and behaviors in the workplace. It also sought to clarify the benefits of diversity and inclusion while creating a collective intention to learn and practice new tools to mitigate biases. Participants were provided with exposure to decision making under stress and were taught novel ways of intervening on biased perception by practicing with new skill sets and exercises. In depth analysis of individual and group-level processes were identified and discussed. Through both survey and real time data collection, homework assignments, peer to peer learning and skill practicing, workshop activities sought to both mitigate and shift participants’ relationship to implicit bias over time.

Mindbridge’s vision is to continue development of this pilot program by adding specific modules catered to the needs of individualized non-profit and corporate organizations. To aid in this expansion, The Implicit Bias Project is facilitating community forums to create dialogue aimed at identifying specific public sector needs in relation to unconscious bias and bridging of divides. With community leadership input, Mindbridge is seeking to develop future training seminars that will strengthen empowerment and advocacy for human rights and social justice platforms.

 

 

[1] Greenwald, A. G., & Krieger, L. H. (2006). Implicit Bias: Scientific Foundations. California Law Review, 94(4), 945-967. [2] Rachlinski, J. J., Johnson, S. L., Wistrich, A. J., & Guthrie, C. (2009). Does Unconscious Racial Bias Affect Trial Judges? Notre Dame Law Review, 84(3), 11951246. [3] Bargh, J. A., & Chartrand, T. L. (1999). The Unbearable Automaticity of Being. American Psychologist, 54(7), 462-479. [4] Blair, I. V. (2002). The Malleability of Automatic Stereotypes and Prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6(3), 242-261

 

 

 

 

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ABOUT US

neuroscienceMindbridge is a not-for-profit organization connecting psychological and neurobiological insight to non-profit and government-sponsored humanitarian efforts.

OUR FOCUS

  • Engagement – project-specific study design
  • Assessment – individually tailored assessment tools
  • Ambassadorships – connecting research to organizations

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