How To Break Down Your Unconscious Bias

Unconscious biases are learned stereotypes that are automatic, unintentional, deeply ingrained, universal, and able to influence behavior.

4 steps for busting unconscious bias

Some basic types of biases:

  1. Like me bias: people who are similar to you
  2. Confirmation bias: we only listen to info that confirms preconceptions
  3. Anchor bias: when your mind anchors to the first piece of information that you’re given
    1. Particularly affects salary negotiations

As explained in the video, these are the steps to breaking down your biases:

  1. Become Aware
    1. Think about why you’ve made biased decisions in the past
  2. Find your trigger
    1. Write a list of situations when you’re most likely to experience these types of biases (email? in meetings? when you’re hungry?)
  3. Slow down
    1. If you notice a trigger, take a moment to pause and breathe. Think about why you’re using unconscious bias.
  4. Do one small thing differently
    1. Ask for feedback from others or let someone else lead meetings
    2. And celebrate making improvements, because habits are formed by cue > routine > reward

Thoughts on this topic:

It makes sense that we all use unconscious biases to simplify our decision-making processes by using system 1 thinking. And it also makes sense that becoming aware of these biases can help us to make much better decisions.

If you want to go much deeper on this topic, here’s a great video!

12 Cognitive Biases Explained - How to Think Better and More Logically Removing Bias

Credit for the header image to ThinkKapLearning.

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Cam Woodsum
I started Need Change to write about important issues regarding society, politics, media, climate change, COVID-19, psychology, and racism. My work has been featured by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the U.S. & U.K. Governments. Keep reading to hear the perspective of someone who grew up in America, has lived in 15+ countries, and is deeply passionate about uniting humanity and improving the world. Feel free to click the chat in the bottom right if you ever want to talk! I'm friendly :).