How to combat implicit bias

Implicit biases are unconscious effects that cause errors in our thinking. The negative effects of these errors are quite apparent in our thinking about other people – they contribute to pernicious structural racism and sexism. Thus it is in our interest to create and implement practicable methods to counteract these biases.

In order for these biases to cause errors in our thinking, two conditions must be met (according to dual process theory). First, our unconscious minds have to make an error. Then our conscious minds have to accept that error. One strategy for combating bias is to prevent the first step by disconnecting our unconscious minds from information they erroneously assign significance to. This is what Google does in its hiring process by withholding demographic information from hirers. Another strategy is to train our conscious minds to detect and correct the errors made by our unconscious minds. Psychological research has shown that merely being made aware of our biases can reduce the severity of the bias in our decisions.

What strategies or tactics for combating implicit bias have come across in your life? How would you detect the magnitude of your own biases? How might you try to correct these biases once you have detected them? How might you gauge the impact of your attempts? And how might you maintain and improve your methods to do these things in the future?