Kizza Chadiha, MEPN, Program Coordinator, Office of the Dean, School of Nursing on the science of unconscious bias.

Over the last three decades, findings from neurology and social and cognitive psychology show that unconscious bias, also know as implicit bias, influences the way we see and treat others.

This work has revealed the following:
  • Everyone posses unconscious biases.
  • These unconscious biases are often incompatible with our conscious values, and
  • Certain scenarios, such as multitasking and working under time constraints can activate these biases.
As you can imagine, trying to assess one’s unconscious preferences poses unique challenges; however, researchers have developed instruments to assess unconscious bias.

One of the most widely studied is the Implicit Association Test or I.A.T. Using the IAT and other assessments to measure implicit cognition, researchers have explored the impact of unconscious bias on several domains including housing, education, criminal justice, health & health care and employment.

For example, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that unconscious bias may influence the evaluation and selection of candidates in all types of organizations. Furthermore, unconscious bias may have an impact on compensation and mentoring relationships.

In addition to assessing and exploring the impact of unconscious bias in various domains, social scientists have developed strategies to mitigate the impact of unconscious bias.

I encourage to you to explore our website which includes evidence-based suggestions about how to mitigate the effects of unconscious bias at the individual- and organization-level.