Unconscious Bias Programs

What is Unconscious Bias?

An implicit stereotype is the unconscious attribution of particular qualities to a member of a certain social group. Implicit stereotypes are influenced by experience, and are based on learned associations between various qualities and social categories, including race or gender. Individuals’ perceptions and behaviors can be affected by implicit stereotypes, even without the individuals’ intention or awareness. Implicit stereotypes are an aspect of implicit social cognition, the phenomenon that perceptions, attitudes, and stereotypes operate without conscious intention. The existence of implicit stereotypes is supported by a variety of scientific articles in psychological literature. Implicit stereotype were first defined by psychologists Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji in 1995.

Explicit stereotypes are the result of intentional, conscious, and controllable thoughts and beliefs.   Explicit stereotypes usually are directed toward a group of people based on what is being perceived. An example of an explicit stereotype would be that all adolescent girls like to play with dolls and makeup.

Implicit stereotypes are associations learned through past experiences. Implicit stereotypes can be activated by the environment, and operate outside of intentional conscious cognition. For example, we can unconsciously stereotype all pitbulls as being dangerous. This stereotype may be associated with one event that we may have seen in the past, but the source of these associations may be misidentified, or even unknown by the individual who holds them, and can persist even when an individual rejects the stereotype explicitly.

Diversity Australia has delivered many hundreds of educational sessions to pre-eminent organizations around the world.  Awareness education is the foundation for any kind of transformation to occur.  We believe that education is the foundation, organisations must also launch strategic communications and explore structures and systems that keep culture locked in place for lasting change to occur.  The core objectives in our work on “unconscious bias” are to get participants to do the following:

  • Examine their own background and identities, so that they can interact more authentically with co-workers, customers and the community.
  • Explore how the brain functions, so that they can recognize unconscious bias as a natural function of the human mind.
  • Expose patterns of unconscious bias so that they can navigate their impact on their decision-making processes.
  • Confront their own internal biases so that they can practice conscious awareness in their lives.
  • Identify organizational leverage points so that they can mitigate the impact of unconscious bias in interactions, processes and structures.
  • Practice strategies and tools so that they can create transformational systemic change in their organization.