I don't consider myself consciously biased. But it is our subconscious or implicit biases that affect our ability to be impartial, subjective, and dare I see--effective decision makers.
Hurling toward a book deadline (this week-gasp) I am finishing up the section on writing survey questions. If you have ever written a survey--you get it. We don't want to lead the respondent toward a particular answer with our choice of words when writing the questions.
As luck would have it, my research led me to Manzarin Banaji, a social psychologist and scientist--and an eye-opening discussion about our implicit biases.
Here is the part that I found the most interesting. Dr Banaji and her team created an Implicit Association Test where you can uncover potential biases.
I highly recommend you take the time to take the test. It only takes about 10 minutes and let's just say--I was surprised at my results with Gender - Science revealing a strong automatic association of male with career and female with family.
You can gain more insights in her book Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People
There are a variety of topics to explore (race, gender, politics, religion, weight--the stuff you don't typically discuss at cocktail parties) and once we are aware of our biases--we are in a better decision to consider them when we quickly reach an opinion or hasty conclusion based on limited inputs or information.
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In a world of "evidence-based" medicine I am a bigger fan of practice-based evidence.
Remember the quote by Upton Sinclair...
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”