WorkMinded Podcast: Pride & Prejudice - Implicit Bias

WorkMinded Podcast: Pride & Prejudice - Implicit Bias

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Hey everyone, and welcome to WorkMinded. Thank you for joining us for this session on Implicit Bias!

Go ahead and take some time to settle in and get comfortable. Find a place where you can feel safe and free from distractions for the next 10 minutes. While you create a little space around yourself, we’ll talk about Implicit Bias, and how developing an awareness of the ways you unconsciously interpret your life experiences can help you see new paths forward to reach your goals and accomplish your work.


Implicit Bias is an “attitude or stereotype that affects our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.”1 Many of us are familiar with the ideas of stereotyping, prejudice, and bias in general. Implicit Bias is different from an explicit bias, that you are aware of and can choose whether or not to reveal. Instead, Implicit Bias is deeply rooted and is not within our conscious awareness, which means that it can be difficult to access and explore.2 When you hear Implicit Bias, it might bring to mind some of the different types of bias that fall under this umbrella, such as groupthink, halo effect, and contrast effect. In fact, Implicit Bias is so ingrained in how we approach our interactions with the world, that we’ll be developing an entire series devoted to the particular types of cognitive bias that most influence how we approach our work.

Implicit Bias also refers to the cognitive connections and mental associations that can lead to unintentional discrimination.3 It rests on the belief that people can act according to certain internal frameworks that aren’t a part of their conscious awareness.4 Since many people are not even aware when a bias influences their actions, it’s possible to engage in discriminatory acts without any conscious intent.5 But regardless of your intentions, you can’t count on impartial results if there is a filter that skews your judgment at the outset.6 Being aware of Implicit Bias is a critical part of viewing the world more objectively.

It’s also important to recognize that Implicit Bias does not look exactly the same for every person. Consider how your own experiences and sense of identity shape your worldview. It is unlikely that your attitudes and approaches toward life all stem from just one isolated experience in your past. Instead, they’re influenced by a combination of all the past experiences and interactions that you bring to the table. Because it’s so personal, Implicit Bias can be a pretty complex topic, and one that is often emotionally charged. But it’s up to us to understand that, whether it’s conscious or unconscious, bias relates to an active place of how we interpret the world, and not just a passive place of how the world appears to us. Once we understand this, we give ourselves more of a say in influencing how far we let Implicit Bias govern our decisions.

While there’s debate in the field about whether there is organizational value in attempting to influence Implicit Bias, it’s generally accepted that an awareness of our own Implicit Bias, and how it can affect our colleagues and work environment, is a crucial piece of promoting an inclusive work environment.7 Our focus here will be on developing an awareness of the role Implicit Bias plays in our own work. Being aware of any Implicit Bias that influences how we interpret a situation can help us to make more objective, and potentially better informed, decisions. The goal is to develop an ability to recognize our role in mediating our own Implicit Bias. By being aware, taking responsibility for our own role in how we interpret the world, and adding a new perspective to a situation, you can take a step back to understand things in a more objective context, which in turn opens up new options and approaches.

By being aware of Implicit Bias and trying to stay rooted in fact instead of our own filtered interpretations, we can uncover opportunities to make different decisions and interpret things with a fresh lens. This can help us find new approaches to a situation or problem, and to find a deeper understanding of root causes. And once you can start to connect with your own bias, you can see new paths forward to approach your work and reach your goals.

You can find show notes for this episode on our website at, and we always want to hear from you, so please connect with us. And now let’s get started with today’s mindfulness session!


1, 2 Dalton, S., & Villagran, M. (2018). Minimizing and addressing implicit bias in the workplace: Be proactive, part one. College & Research Libraries News, 79(9), 478. doi:

3 Payne, K., & Vuletich, H. (2017). Policy Insights From Advances in Implicit Bias Research. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 5(1), 49-56. doi:

4 Pritlove, C., Juando-Prats, C., Ala-Ieppilampi, K., & Parsons, J.A. (2019). The good, the bad, and the ugly of implicit bias. The Lancet, 393(10171), 502-504. doi:
5 Selmi, M. (2017). The Paradox of Implicit Bias and a Plea for a New Narrative. GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2017-63. Available at SSRN:

6 Savonick, D., & Davidson, C. (2017).  Gender Bias in Academe: An Annotated Bibliography of Important Recent Studies. CUNY Academic Works. Available at

7 Dalton, S., & Villagran, M. (2018). Minimizing and addressing implicit bias in the workplace: Be proactive, part one. College & Research Libraries News, 79(9), 478. doi: