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“Unconscious bias” may sound like one of those ambiguously scientific terms that make our eyes glaze over and our brains tune out. But once your eyes are opened to it, you can see how it affects almost every part of your life.
Our unconscious biases are the shortcuts our brains take to reach certain conclusions. For example, when you see a completely empty subway car, your brain might assume it’s empty for a reason and send you rushing to the next one. In general, these mental leaps are essential: Imagine if you had to analyze every single sensory stimulus your brain took in, then base decisions off those analyses.
There’s a darker side of this process, however: Certain cultural biases can become encoded in our brains without our even knowing, leading us to draw conclusions that can be inaccurate, incomplete or sometimes harmful.
For example, research has shown that in group-work settings, instead of determining whether a given person has genuine expertise we sometimes focus on proxies of expertise — the traits and habits we associate, and often conflate, with expertise. That means qualities such as confidence, extroversion and how much someone talks can outweigh demonstrated knowledge when analyzing whether a person is an expert.
Source by:- nytimesShare: