Our personal experiences can influence big and small decisions we make everyday. Consider how some of the experiences listed below could influence your decisions – perhaps without even noticing.
The environment in which you were raised
The culture in which you were raised
These are just a few of many factors that can influence how we make decisions without us even noticing, this is unconscious bias. By understanding our triggers and how they impact us, we can build on our self-awareness to acknowledge and prevent unconscious bias. This gives opportunities to question your decisions and how your background could have influenced them.
Bias presents itself in a multitude of ways, some we may not even realize. Some examples of ways we can be unconsciously bias towards different groups of people are:
Horns Effect – Judging a person without ever having met them based on a negative report or rumor. On the other side of this is the halo effect, where one’s abilities are over inflated based on their reputation.
Contrast Effect - Contrast effect bias occurs when individuals are compared based on their differences. This bias is one of the most common biases in the recruiting or hiring industry. When a recruiter is interviewing applicants; an exceptional interview with a potential candidate may influence the recruiter’s view of the next candidate to be interviewed.
Beauty Bias - The beauty bias has two sides to it. Conventionally attractive people are sometimes perceived to be smarter and more capable. On the opposite side of that, conventionally attractive people are sometimes perceived as more feminine, weaker, and not as capable. The industry the individual is working in can influence this bias. For example, research has shown that attractive women are hired less often for jobs when appearance is less important, such as tow truck drivers or security guards.
Conformity Bias - Instead of being based on past experiences, Conformity Bias is defined as behaving in a manner that is similar to the people that are present, instead of acting on one’s own judgements or decisions. These behaviors can change, based on the surrounding people or situations. An example of this is when one person breaks the rules, then other’s join to conform, even it goes against their moral compass.
Gender Bias - Unconscious biases can cause us to ignore the skills and talents of someone due to their gender. This includes issues surrounding equal pay, equal opportunity, and blatant cases of discrimination against one gender or another in recruiting and hiring.
Name Bias – Judging a person based on their name alone is a name bias. Name bias isn’t always based on name alone, but the association it creates. Names bring to mind images that influence our unconscious bias.
Ageism Bias - The preference of a specific age over another is the ageism bias. On one hand, employees from older generations can feel lost with new innovations and technology. On the other hand, younger employees are thought to not be as competent because of their lack of experience despite their qualifications.
By Katelyn Roy