Unconscious Bias

Dr. Robin’s Diversity, Inclusion and Cultural Competence programs have always addressed bias – unconscious and conscious, unintentional and intentional, visible and invisible, macro and micro.  Many organizations are now asking specifically for Anti-Bias programs.  A typical program to address this topic designed by Dr. Johnson might include:

Pre-work – The Implicit Association Test – IAT – (if participants do not do pre-work, Dr. Robin can run a version of the IAT within a program and still make some of the key points about the value of these reaction time experiments for helping us become more conscious of our biases).  The tests take about 10 minutes each and in many cases provide evidence of bias.  Some people are surprised and upset to discover they have some bias against groups to which they belong.  So this option comes with cautions.  There are IATs for Gender-Career, Weapons, Asian, Arab-Muslim, Sexuality, Gender-Science, Race, Presidents, Disability, Skin-tone, Religion, Native American, Weight and Age.  Usually participants will choose at least two to take.  Participants are asked to list which ones they took, reflect on why they chose those IATs, what their results said, their reaction to their results, and what experiences or exposures from their lives might have contributed to those results. (Before participants share any of their information with each other, Dr. Robin sets up a psychologically safe environment by establishing some communication ground-rules/norms, sharing her results and sharing the research findings.)

Pre-work option 2 – The Birkman Method.  This assessment actually gives usual behavior and need scores for 9 relational components.  It is an instrument also with strong psychometric properties.  The scores on the components, when compared with millions of people who’ve taken the Birkman, can give us some insight into individual responses within social desirability parameters, behavioral bias, and expectation bias for those nine components.  (For the list of components please go to the Birkman page).  Many organizations prefer exploring bias using the Birkman Method because the relational components allow people to acknowledge their biases without a lot of the emotional charge associated with discussing some of the inter-group dynamics of the IATs.

Program outline:
Define bias – attitudinal bias
Discuss results of IAT and/or Birkman (research findings, dyads share)
Connect Bias and Decision-Making research, implications for your organization?
Types of Bias (discussion)
Consequences of Bias (Reversal tool videos; what if left unaddressed?, Prejudiced?)
Manage Bias – skills and techniques (when, where, how, why)
Skill Practice – role plays / mini-cases / videos

Dr. Robin  is also in the process of partnering with SunShower Learning to enhance their Defeating Unconscious Bias program.  Stay tuned for more.