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Can we consciously stop unconscious bias?

We all make choices that discriminate against one group in favour of another. But we can reduce the negative effects to create working environments where such choices are less likely to affect final hiring decisions, writes Sarah Winship

12 September 2017

Unconscious bias – we all have it. However consciously unbiased we may try to be, we all make incredibly quick judgements about people and situations without realising we are doing it.

Traditional approaches to diversity have assumed that patterns of discriminatory behaviour are conscious, that people who know better do the right thing and those who don’t cause bias. In reality we are all biased. We all make choices that discriminate against one group in favour of another without even realising we are doing it, and all the time convincing ourselves that we are not biased.

Unconscious bias occurs when our brains use visual, verbal, and behavioural cues to make quick judgements and assessments of people and situations without us realising. These judgements tend to be the result of a complex mix of influences such as our background, our cultural environment, societa...

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