What Is Bias?

A bias is a tendency. Most biases—like the preference to eat food instead of paper clips—are helpful. But cognitive shortcuts can cause problems when we're not aware of them and apply them inappropriately, leading to rash decisions or discriminatory practices. Stereotype threat, for example, is the confirmation of negative stereotypes about another person's race, gender, group, and so on. Relying on biases but keeping them in check requires a delicate balance of self-awareness.

Recent posts on Bias

Mom? Dad? Can I Have Lunch with a Nazi?

If your child asked if it was okay to have lunch with a stranger who is a Nazi or KKK, chances are you would say “No.” So, is your child at risk for exposure to a hate group?

Mind the Gap

When those who fall outside of the dominant culture are judged because they fall outside of the dominant culture, are they given an equal opportunity?

Male Risk of Autism: No One Expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Stigmatizing autism research as "sexist" for finding a gender difference in risk is not going to help us discover the truth about it.

Facing Your Depression

By David Ludden Ph.D. on August 20, 2017 in Talking Apes
Researchers are working on a new treatment for depression you can put on your mobile device—but a self-help version is already available.

Thresholds for Racism

Some people have high thresholds for racism. But subtle racism is more widespread than blatant racism. An awareness of history can improve accuracy in detecting racism.

Discussing the News With Your Children

In this rough week for our nation, many parents are left wondering how to talk to their children about what they are seeing in the news. Here are some tips.

Why Divorced People Are Key to Understanding Marriage

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on August 18, 2017 in Living Single
A study of 10,000 Dutch adults looked at the health of married people to see if it had anything to do with who got divorced. Did it ever.

The Civil War Continues in Charlottesville

The science of social connection explains the allure of racist supremacist movements, and what we can do to reverse bias and discrimination.

When You Have Too Much Confidence, Expect This to Happen

By Bobby Hoffman Ph.D. on August 17, 2017 in Motivate!
We are taught to believe in ourselves and strive to reach our goals despite any obstacles. But sometimes success and motivation derail when we think too highly of our abilities.

Rising Toxic Masculinity and Authoritarianism in America

By Ray Williams on August 17, 2017 in Wired for Success
Toxic masculinity, authoritarianism, and the militarization of America threaten the foundations of democracy.

Where Do You Really Stand in the Wake of Charlottesville?

By Deborah L. Davis Ph.D. on August 17, 2017 in Laugh, Cry, Live
Following the Charlottesville riots, reactions are disturbingly mixed. Here’s how to strengthen your thinking about the effects of racism.

Taking Care of Yourself and Others During Racial Trauma

By Mariel Buque M.A. on August 16, 2017 in Unpacking Race
Taking care of yourself and others during racial trauma: a guide for healing in the face of race-based turmoil.

What My Gym Membership Taught Me About Mental Accounting

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on August 16, 2017 in Consumed
When you think about money, think it through.

After Charlottesville: Is Racism a Mental Illness?

In what ways might racism be considered a mental illness? How might this understanding help us treat those who suffer from pathological bias?

On Coping with Political Strife On Social Media and Beyond

A conversation about struggling with what to post on social media in these times of social and political strife.

Five Steps in Forming Irrational Beliefs

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on August 15, 2017 in Science of Choice
Most of our core beliefs about the world are not based on rational and conscious choices.

What Makes Conspiracy Theories so Appealing?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on August 14, 2017 in Media Spotlight
What motivates people to believe in different conspiracy theories and what makes these beliefs so hard to change?

Are You Ready to Be Your Own Doctor?

By Haider Warraich M.D. on August 14, 2017 in On Modern Medicine
Shared decision making is all the rage in medicine, with several recent studies espousing its benefits. But how ready, willing and able are patients to take on that role?

Beyond Charlottesville

By Dana S Dunn Ph.D. on August 14, 2017 in Head of the Class
The events in Charlottesville, Virginia, were disturbing. Enclosed are some anti-Hate resources for teachers and interested others to use in their classrooms in the coming weeks.

Race in America: Tips on Talking With Children About Racism

Current events depicting racism often spark the race conversation. How can you have the talk with your kid?

Responding to Hate: Should We Just “Love One Another”?

Is "just love one other" a solution to rise of hate in the United States? Or do we need to take a deeper look at issues of social justice and human rights?

Charlottesville and Self-Segregation

No, Trump,"hatred, bigotry violence" steming from conflict that's become chronic due to self-segregation by straight white Chrisitans is not from "many sides, on many sides."

The Psychology of the New McCarthyism

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on August 11, 2017 in Rabble Rouser
On the rising threat to science and basic human rights in America.

An In-depth Analysis of the Crisis at Google

The crisis at Google in the wake of the Damore memo controversy is an unfortunate symptom of our hyperpolarized society. This post explains how to understand it and move forward.

Who's More Emotionally Intelligent, and Does Gender Matter?

Are women really poorly suited for careers in tech? One Google engineer’s claims got him fired. The facts based on personality research prove that Google made the right decision.

Health Care and Equality in India

By Marc Nemiroff Ph. D. on August 10, 2017 in Where the Heart Is
Indian health care: Is America listening?
Alones/Shutterstock

The Psychoanalytic Mind: Alive and Well

By Paul Siegel Ph.D. on August 10, 2017 in Freud Lives
Freud may be dead, but science is giving his ideas new life.
stokpic at pexels

Why Should I Pay For Anyone Else's Health Care?

Ignoring the power of chance is poor, painful policy.

It's Not My Fault. The Millennial Answer to Everything!

By Bobby Hoffman Ph.D. on August 09, 2017 in Motivate!
When things go awry, parents and leaders often cast blame, yet fail to take accountability for their decisions. Knowing why we shirk responsibility can lead to better outcomes.