Implicit Bias
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Implicit Bias in STEM

The concept of implicit bias, which was developed over 50 years ago and is supported by decades of evidence, posits that regardless of the conscious ideas we espouse, we subconsciously hold notions about people that reflect the culture in which we were raised. As social beings, all of us unconsciously categorize people into groups based upon stereotypes, as shortcuts to effective social interaction. Numerous studies have shown how implicit gender bias affects career progression. Most people are reluctant to accept that they are biased, and scientists in particular pride themselves on their impartiality. Yet scientists are humans raised in societies, and thus are subject to collective messages that suggest men are suited to science because they are independent and analytical whereas women are better suited to care-giving and cooperative enterprises. Research shows that when exposed to the concept of implicit bias, both men and women become “inoculated” and the effects of implicit bias are mitigated by their awareness of the issue.

Implicit Association Webcast

Created for the AWARDS project participants but much more broadly applicable, this webinar explains how selective attention impacts perceptions. 

AWARDS Webcast

Implicit Bias and the Academic Workplace

Implicit bias has a direct impact on workplace dynamics.  This chapter from Equitable Solutions for Retaining a Robust STEM Workforce: Beyond Best Practices highlights some of the recent literature focused on this topic. 

Implicit Bias and STEM

Science Faculty’s Subtle Gender Biases Favor Male Students

In a randomized double-blind study (n=127), science faculty from research-intensive universities rated the application materials of a student who was randomly assigned either a male or female name for a laboratory manager position. Faculty participants rated the male applicant as significantly more competent and hireable than the (identical) female applicant. These participants also selected a higher starting salary and offered more career mentoring to the male applicant. The gender of the faculty participants did not affect responses, such that female and male faculty were equally likely to exhibit bias against the female student..

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012

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