Unconscious Bias

The first thing to do in this section is to take a look at the Unconscious Bias assessment and give it a go. 

Unconscious biases are our unintentional people preferences, formed by our socialisation and experiences, including exposure to the media. We unconsciously assign positive and negative value to the categories we use. 

Bias is a preference in favour of or against a thing, person, or group compared with another. Biases may be held by an individual, group, or institution and can have positive or negative effects. 

Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about people and things because of our instinct to categorise them using manageable criteria such as skin colour, race, religion, age, weight, and gender. We also categorise people according to educational level, job title, social status, disability, sexuality, accent and clothing. Generally, we automatically assign presumed traits to people according to those groups.

We do this to save time and effort processing information about people, which frees us up to use our mental resources on other tasks. This system can act as a safety or coping mechanism, and draws on our life experiences.

On the other hand, biases can lead us to make assumptions about people and things, and then act according to those assumptions/biases. This is particularly disadvantageous when those assumptions are negative, incorrect and lead to negative actions.

No matter how unbiased we think we are, we may have subconscious negative opinions about people who are outside our own group. But the more exposed we are to other groups of people, the less likely we are to feel prejudice against them.

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