Unconscious bias refers to a bias that we are unaware of, and which happens outside of our control. It is a bias that happens automatically and is triggered by our brain making quick judgments and assessments of people and situations, influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences.
The Royal Society has developed a short film that introduces the key concepts of unconscious bias:
Once we accept that we all naturally use subconscious mental shortcuts, then we can take time to consider them and reflect on whether such implicit thought processes are inappropriately affecting the objectivity of our decision-making.
Recruitment & Selection
Understanding unconscious bias is particularly important during recruitment & selection, where we are looking to objectively assess candidates on the merit and evidence of their application rather than other factors.
For this reason, we have produced the following guides on Unconscious Bias for both candidate shortlisting and candidate assessment at interview:
- Equality Challenge Unit
- The Harvard Implicit Test - test your unconscious bias
- TEDx talk by University of Bristol staff Havi Carel & Richard Pettigrew - 'The prejudice you don’t know you have'
- TEDx talk by Yassmin Abdel-Magied
- Who Me, Biased? - a series of six short videos looking at the effects of our unconscious choices and attitudes
- Evidence That Gendered Wording in Job Advertisements Exists and Sustains Gender Inequality (Gaucher, 2011, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology)
- The Bias Project - Unconscious Bias in a philosophical context.