Many people have become polarized in contemporary conversations about bias, believing that bias states (e.g., sexist, racist, homophobe etc.) are binary. In other words, you are or are not a ___ist.

In fact, research is uncovering a completely different way of looking at prejudice that affects everyone, including you. Scientific studies are highlighting the fact that people are not defined by their biases, but that our biases are products of the way our brains operate every day, from day one. In short, our brains are so full of information from sensory input to cognitive thoughts--11,000,000 data points per second--that the brain automates all but 40 of these data points so you can function (R.F.Schmidt, 1986). These neurological automations become associations you make without even thinking about it. And all these unconscious associations bias you towards some people, thoughts, feelings and beliefs--and against others.

"Unconscious Bias" is a natural result of the ways in which our brains catalog and organize information. Unfortunately it can also lead to unfair work practices and discrimination. How can you tell if you have an unconscious bias? If you don't think you have one, you definitely have one. Learn to spot it and you'll be a better leader and better at bringing other's attention to their own biased thinking.

Get your journal out! Turn this course into a personal reflection journey!