Biases cause errors in decision making

In light of my sharing an absurd (and biased) investigation about sexual harassment at CU, I am sharing this talk on biases.

Click Below to view the talk:

Creating a Level Playing Field

It’s an excellent talk and really made me think about my own judgments and biases. It shed light on how our judgements of people and their abilities may not necessarily be based in fact. I am not going to say much more because I think Dr. Correll says it best in her talk.

Below I have included a few links similar to studies she references, and then a few other resources on bias studies.

Links and Resources:

Constructed criteria: redefining merit to justify discriminationThis study looks at job discrimination in stereotypical male or female jobs

Gender and Race Bias in the Judgement of Western Art Music Performance

Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of “Blind Auditions on Female Musicians

Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students

Here is a collection of papers on biases complied by Columbia University:Gender, Unconscious Bias and Stereotype Threat

Here is an interesting testimony along the same topic:                                          How I Discovered Gender Discrimination

6 responses to “Biases cause errors in decision making

  1. I see these kinds of biases in others enough that I wonder how they exist in me. I suspect I was second choice (in a group of 12) for a promotion (I would have refused for sanity reasons) because, in part, I had a Y chromosome. Fortunately for all, a much more qualified woman got the job. I wonder what would have happened if we’d been more closely matched.

    • I have a lot of respect for your willing to admit that.

      After reading through these articles I really wonder about my own biases as well. The people who were studied were not going around and overtly discriminating. It seems most people are unaware that they even have biases.

  2. I remember when the Equal Rights Amendment was up for ratification, the biggest complaint that everyone (including my parents) seemed to have was about the clause requiring everyone to use uni-sex bathrooms! There were other hidden clauses to defy modesty that those bra-burning feminists had scattered throughout the legislation and we were reminded of this on nearly a daily basis in newspapers and on television. That was Oklahoma, but I suspect it was rampant nationally and especially in the South. Once this campaign began, congress took the unprecedented step of putting a time limit on passage by the states and several states tried to rescind their ratification.

    To see how the feminists did their dirty work that got that and other clauses in there, you have to read the entire amendment:
    “Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
    Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
    Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.”

    Those sneaky devils! They hid those clauses well!

    This is only to make the point that so much of bias is willful ignorance in which a person has no intention of becoming informed and will fight it tooth and nail. Fortunately, the last company I worked for made an effort to be inclusive, so there is at least one company that is trying. I hope this process spreads — maybe to the armed forces? I applaud those who are trying to make a difference.

    • I agree, there is a lot of bias that is willful ignorance. Some of the things people believe…just frightening.

      One issue that I commonly see is very educated people struggling with biases. It is so easy to nod your head and say, “racism is bad and I’m not a racist.” What is difficult is to really force oneself to come to terms with the existing beliefs one might hold. I guess in that sense, blissfully saying you aren’t biased in any way is a form of willful ignorance.

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