Understanding Unconscious Bias

Most of have a great deal of confidence in our subconscious mind’s ability to make decisions. And rightly so. Every day we subconsciously make hundreds, if not thousands of decisions which keep us safe, help us to navigate our relationships, and keep us happy.

But there’s one area where it lets us down more often than we realise; rational thinking:

The unconscious mind is amazing. It can process vastly more information than out conscious mind by using shortcuts based on our background, cultural environment and personal experiences to make almost instantaneous decisions about everything around us.

The snag is, it’s wrong quite a lot of the time. Especially on matters that need rational thinking.

This video from the Royal Society explores how our subconscious can lead us to judge people and situations unfairly. As it highlights, all of us are guilty of this, it’s a normal aspect of human psychology. But by becoming more aware of its existence, and its influence on our decision making, by resisting the temptation to make snap judgements, questioning the reasoning behind our decisions, and questing cultural stereotypes.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with the fact that our brains do this any more that there’s something wrong with the fact that our taste buds prefer ice cream to vegetables. What matters is that we engage our rational minds, so that we can make healthy decisions more often.