Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Implicit Bias and Why It Matters

Siobahn Hotaling is a resident of New York, New York, and is the senior user experience designer with Global Payments. With a strong interest in psychology, Siobahn Hotaling is also involved in her own research, including in the area of implicit bias.

The term implicit, when used in the context of implicit bias, refers to thoughts or feelings that someone is unaware of. Implicit bias means having an unintentional bias toward a person or group, without being aware of that bias. This can come in the form of stereotypes and even racism due to how a person has developed.

Most actions that people perform throughout their day come without any real conscious thought, which allows implicit biases to come through. These biases will unintentionally affect how a person behaves toward particular person or group. This is seen as a concern, especially regarding implicit bias toward race. This type of bias can be detrimental to professionals in certain fields, as they inherently view certain people or groups differently, and therefore treat them differently. In the medical field, for example, this can keep patients from being taken seriously, and that can put their health in jeopardy in certain situations.

Siobahn Hotaling's research revolves around understanding the nature of how implicit biases are formed, what it takes for individuals to become aware of them, and - most importantly - if our implicit biases can be transformed. Her prototype, called the Implicit Bias Transformation Program, is a program design to address this specific challenge.

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