Built That Way: Implicit Bias

scared young ethnic man looking through hands on blue background in studio

By James Clarke

[Editor Note: This week we welcome a new Guest Blogger, James Clarke, from the Syracuse Peer Network (SyrPeer). He shares with us an article on Implicit Bias, which is an important topic for peer specialists to consider.]

I find myself, like most, thinking I’m a rational person and base all of my actions on facts and decision making. At the same time, most decisions are automatic responses we have developed. Part of being human is to have logic and reasoning, making it almost taboo to speak of having biases or auto-judgments. This also sets us up to be hardwired to make mistakes within our judgment without ever being aware of it. It is now to be considered that these auto-responses are what lead us to the biases found within our society.

Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman from Princeton University, who with Amos Tversky, worked toward undoing this century-long false view of how the human mind works showing how judgment is fallible and how we are hardwired to make mistakes.

When these two went into the study they believed that all people come to decision making logically and wondered how this could be used to influence the economy. Instead, they found the majority of our decisions were based on habits, intuitions, our personal history, and at times our emotional state.

This isn’t to say we are not rational beings, this is our fast mind at work-which occurs without active thinking. When we are logical we process things more slowly. This logical process is based on conscious reasoning, it is energy-draining and time-consuming. (Read More)

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