Presentation on theme: "UNCONSCIOUS BIAS SASHA SCOTT & DAMIAN JENKINS. What is it? Natural, in-built preferences Filters we apply to every day life to make handling of information."— Presentation transcript:
UNCONSCIOUS BIAS SASHA SCOTT & DAMIAN JENKINS
What is it? Natural, in-built preferences Filters we apply to every day life to make handling of information possible at all
What is going on? Brain receives app. 11,000,000 pieces of information per second Needs to ‘attend’ to only a small proportion of this information Rest dealt with by sub-processors
Brain anatomy for beginners..
So I’m not in charge?
Even ‘free decisions’ partly subconscious Soon et al 2008 People asked to make decision freely Brain scan records activity Brain active for up to 7s before conscious decision areas active!
You can even answer questions unconsciously.. HEALTHY SUBJECT VEGETATIVE-STATE PATIENT Answering YES to a question Answering NO to a question
Why not think consciously about everything? Too slow Too costly Would ruin ‘fight or flight’ SO unconscious decision making necessary for survival
Discrepancy between unconscious & conscious thinking % with prejudice against
What determines this unconscious response? Previous experiences & teachings Hard wiring No previous experience means no previous hard wiring
Some Terminology Kinship Group: Those people who share externally, and self-ascribed, characteristics – These set the group apart from others – White versus black – Male versus female – Gay versus straight
This is despite the fact that we could each identify with many different groups
Some more terminology Schema: expectation about a person’s characteristics based on their membership of a group – Schemas can conflict with what you think your conscious view point is (I get on with gay people: implicit tests argues otherwise etc.) – Changes with repeated exposure to different people and experiences
Most likely to rely on schemas when.. Stressed Distracted Under time pressure There is ambiguity There is a lack of ‘critical mass’
Critical mass If you have lots of black people in a group you are more likely NOT to see the colour and to start differentiating between individuals If you do a diversity test in a mixed colour group you are likely to score higher If you do a test of bias against women in a group consisting 50% women rather than 10% women you score as being less biased
LGBT difficulty Critical mass may not be reached Far fewer openly gay men amongst soldiers Far fewer gay women amongst officers Vanishingly small number of bi and transgender personnel
What price is paid for not addressing unconscious bias? IT MIGHT FEEL AS IF THERE IS NO COST
But at the organisational level Means teams become very similar in their mix of people Minority groups alienated. Accumulation of minor disadvantages leads to an overall view that ‘I cannot get on in this job’ Loss of talent from groups HOMOGENEITY IS EVOLUTIONARY SUICIDE Organisations lose out on operational effectiveness. This is clear from all business case examples
Use of schemas is prevalent when Recruiting Undertaking appraisals When deciding which employee goes on a course/training/AT Awards and promotions
Evidence that the brain sees what it wants
Handbook 1 Diagram 1 – Stare at the crosshair in the middle Diagram 2 – Which is bigger? Central circle on the left or right? Diagram 3 – Which dude is larger?
Seeing what you want to see
It’s all about the angle from which you look
How does this relate to the workplace? Explicit bias is no longer accepted Despite this minorities still under-represented ‘Not a team player’ ‘Just didn’t fit in’ This shows how pernicious is the effect of implicit bias
Bias affects the performance of those being type-cast Three groups of Asian post-grads given maths test Before sitting test asked to sit questionnaire 1 st group: Qs about Asian-ness 2 nd group: Qs about Female qualities 3 rd group: Neutral questionnaire Scores on maths test: – Gp 1 52% > Gp 3 45% > Gr 2 42%
Promotes homogeneity 5’9’’ 6’ 5’9 Av Male Height 6’ Av Height CEOs 14.5% of men are >6’ YET 58% of all Fortune 500 CEOs are >6’
Limits potential UK female managers earn an average salary of £31,895 UK male managers earn an average salary of £42,441 With exactly the same CVs women score 3.33/5 for ‘competency’ and men 4.05/5
Gives rise to irrational statistics The average ‘good looker’ earns 3-4% more over their lifetime than someone considered not a ‘good looker’.
..and clear discrimination Women begin being discriminated against at a BMI of 27 For men it’s 35 Overweight men earn 2.3% less than their colleagues For women it’s 6.2%
BIRMINGHAM NEWCASTLE COCKNEY WORST 5 ACCENTS IN UK (>2600 EMPLOYEES SURVEYED) LIVERPOOL GLASGOW 72% employees victimised at work because of accent 63% employees with an accent have hidden it at a job interview In telephone interviews people from Edinburgh 4x more likely to get job than person from Glasgow with same CV
What is clear about this? Ability in the workplace is not linked to: Height Gender Sexuality Colour Accent Looks And yet all of these factors come into play!
RESEARCH FROM LEVEL PLAYING FIELD INSTITUTE
This creates a negative cycle SCHEMA EVALUATION BIASED UNCONSCIOUSLY PERFORMANCE UNDERESTIMATED NOT GRADED WELL/SENT ON COURSE/PROMOTED LOWERS SUCCESS
And when the affected person complains.. You have no reference point for what LGBT people are like Therein you associate LGBT soldiers with moaning This makes you less likely to helpful to the next LGBT person you meet The cycle continues
Ultimately LGBT staff unmotivated Negative mind set Make no effort to integrate with a team that also makes no effort to integrate Withdraw Complain or leave or ‘fly solo’ Brain drain Human cost, team cost, financial cost No winners
Which means We are not representative of the society we seek to serve and protect
The Good News You can unlearn unconscious biases BUT it requires effort MINDFULNESS