Unconscious bias Pt 1

Report
UNCONSCIOUS BIAS
SASHA SCOTT
&
DAMIAN JENKINS
What is it?
• Natural, in-built preferences
• Filters we apply to every day life to
make handling of information
possible at all
What is going on?
• Brain receives app. 11,000,000 pieces of
information per second
• Needs to ‘attend’ to only a small proportion of
this information
• Rest dealt with by sub-processors
Brain anatomy for beginners..
So I’m not in charge?
Even ‘free decisions’ partly
subconscious
Soon et al 2008
• People asked to make decision freely
• Brain scan records activity
• Brain active for up to 7s before conscious
decision areas active!
You can even answer questions
unconsciously..
HEALTHY SUBJECT
Answering YES to a question
Answering NO to a question
VEGETATIVE-STATE PATIENT
Why not think consciously about
everything?
• Too slow
• Too costly
• Would ruin ‘fight or flight’
• SO unconscious decision making necessary for
survival
% with prejudice against
Discrepancy between unconscious &
conscious thinking
What determines this unconscious
response?
• Previous experiences & teachings
• Hard wiring
• No previous experience means no previous
hard wiring
Some Terminology
• Kinship Group: Those people who share
externally, and self-ascribed, characteristics
– These set the group apart from others
– White versus black
– Male versus female
– Gay versus straight
This is despite the fact that we could
each identify with many different
groups
Some more terminology
• Schema: expectation about a person’s
characteristics based on their membership of
a group
– Schemas can conflict with what you think your
conscious view point is (I get on with gay people:
implicit tests argues otherwise etc.)
– Changes with repeated exposure to different
people and experiences
Most likely to rely on schemas when..
•
•
•
•
•
Stressed
Distracted
Under time pressure
There is ambiguity
There is a lack of ‘critical mass’
Critical mass
• If you have lots of black people in a group you are
more likely NOT to see the colour and to start
differentiating between individuals
• If you do a diversity test in a mixed colour group
you are likely to score higher
• If you do a test of bias against women in a group
consisting 50% women rather than 10% women
you score as being less biased
LGBT difficulty
• Critical mass may not be reached
• Far fewer openly gay men amongst soldiers
• Far fewer gay women amongst officers
• Vanishingly small number of bi and
transgender personnel
What price is paid for not addressing
unconscious bias?
IT MIGHT FEEL AS IF THERE IS NO COST
But at the organisational level
• Means teams become very similar in their mix of
people
• Minority groups alienated. Accumulation of minor
disadvantages leads to an overall view that ‘I cannot
get on in this job’  Loss of talent from groups
HOMOGENEITY IS EVOLUTIONARY SUICIDE
• Organisations lose out on operational effectiveness.
This is clear from all business case examples
Use of schemas is prevalent when
• Recruiting
• Undertaking appraisals
• When deciding which employee goes on a
course/training/AT
• Awards and promotions
Evidence that the brain sees what it
wants
Handbook 1
• Diagram 1
– Stare at the crosshair in the middle
• Diagram 2
– Which is bigger? Central circle on the left or right?
• Diagram 3
– Which dude is larger?
Seeing what you want to see
It’s all about the angle from which
you look
How does this relate to the
workplace?
• Explicit bias is no longer accepted
• Despite this minorities still under-represented
• ‘Not a team player’
• ‘Just didn’t fit in’
• This shows how pernicious is the effect of implicit
bias
Bias affects the performance of those
being type-cast
• Three groups of Asian post-grads given maths
test
• Before sitting test asked to sit questionnaire
• 1st group: Qs about Asian-ness
• 2nd group: Qs about Female qualities
• 3rd group: Neutral questionnaire
• Scores on maths test:
– Gp 1 52% > Gp 3 45%
> Gr 2 42%
Promotes homogeneity
5’9 Av Male Height
5’9’’
6’
6’ Av Height CEOs
14.5% of men are >6’
YET
58% of all Fortune
500 CEOs are >6’
Limits potential
UK female managers
earn an average
salary of £31,895
UK male managers
earn an average
salary of £42,441
With exactly the
same CVs
women score 3.33/5
for ‘competency’ and
men 4.05/5
Gives rise to irrational statistics
The average ‘good looker’ earns 3-4% more over their lifetime than
someone considered not a ‘good looker’.
..and clear discrimination
Women begin being discriminated against at a BMI of 27
For men it’s 35
Overweight men earn 2.3% less than their colleagues
For women it’s 6.2%
NEWCASTLE
BIRMINGHAM
COCKNEY
LIVERPOOL
WORST 5 ACCENTS IN UK
(>2600 EMPLOYEES
SURVEYED)
GLASGOW
72% employees victimised at work because of accent
63% employees with an accent have hidden it at a job interview
In telephone interviews people from Edinburgh 4x more likely to get job
than person from Glasgow with same CV
What is clear about this?
• Ability in the workplace is not linked to:
Height
Gender
Sexuality
Colour
Accent
Looks
• And yet all of these factors come into play!
RESEARCH FROM LEVEL PLAYING FIELD INSTITUTE
RESEARCH FROM LEVEL PLAYING FIELD INSTITUTE
This creates a negative cycle
SCHEMA
LOWERS SUCCESS
NOT GRADED
WELL/SENT ON
COURSE/PROMOTED
EVALUATION BIASED
UNCONSCIOUSLY
PERFORMANCE
UNDERESTIMATED
And when the affected person
complains..
• You have no reference point for what LGBT
people are like
• Therein you associate LGBT soldiers with moaning
• This makes you less likely to helpful to the next
LGBT person you meet
• The cycle continues
Ultimately
• LGBT staff unmotivated
• Negative mind set
• Make no effort to integrate with a team that also
makes no effort to integrate
• Withdraw
• Complain or leave or ‘fly solo’
Brain drain
Human cost, team cost, financial cost
No winners
Which means
We are not
representative of
the society we
seek to serve and
protect
The Good News
• You can unlearn unconscious biases
• BUT it requires effort
• MINDFULNESS

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