Implicit Bias

The notion of implicit or unconscious bias is poorly (and inconsistently) defined. It vaguely refers to the idea that we have unconscious thoughts that we are unaware of (the ‘implicit’/’unconscious’ notion), and that these thoughts are often biased – especially against minority groups. As the name suggests, the key aspect is that we are unaware of such biases. This means that in order to learn about them, we need to sit special tests or attend training to allow us to gain awareness of them. The extortionate fees that companies charge to provide ‘unconscious bias training’ to organisations should give a clue as to the legitimacy of this notion. However, despite the fact that there is no definitive or consistent definition of unconscious bias, individuals and companies are making millions from not only telling people that they are biased, but also that the bias can be cured. In addition to this, not only does this training fail to have an impact, some work has suggested that it can actually increase animosity between groups.

For overviews of the notion of implicit/unconscious bias in the popular press, see:

To view scholarly articles that debunk, contest, or criticise implicit bias and its measures, see:

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