What Is Bias?

A bias is a tendency. Most biases—like preferring to eat food instead of paper clips, or assuming someone on fire should be put out—are helpful. But cognitive shortcuts can cause problems when we're not aware of them and we apply them inappropriately, leading to rash decisions or discriminatory practices. Relying on biases but keeping them in check requires a delicate balance of self-awareness.

Recent Posts on Bias

Donald Trump Will Make You Smarter

Donald Trump can make you more self-aware, empathic and humble. Who knew?

Are You Feeling Unneeded Pain?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on February 01, 2016 Your Wise Brain
Deliberately tilt toward the positive in your mind, which is not looking through rose-colored glasses. Given the negativity bias in the brain, you're leveling the playing field.

Do You Make Good Decisions?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on January 31, 2016 Talking Apes
Intuitions lead to “good enough” decisions in most everyday situations, but they can lead us astray when the stakes are high.

Psychology in Making a Murderer

The most entrenched cognitive bias is in the direction of things we’ve already said and beliefs we’ve already acted on.

Confronting a Toxic Racial Climate

A negative racial environment can be costly, resulting in high turnover, discrimination lawsuits, and even forced resignations. What can be done?

The Perils of Benchmarking Good Behavior Using Self-Report

The UK government has published new guidelines on alcohol consumption and, yes, they are controversial. But are they undermined by self-report bias?

Six Reasons to Give Someone a Second Chance

When people bother you to the point where you’re done and ready to excise them from your life, before you do, consider these 6 reasons to give them a second chance.

A Guest in Quiet

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on January 28, 2016 Bear in Mind
What rattlesnakes teach us about the grace and dignity of being reptile.

Binge-Watching: If You're Feeling Ashamed, Get Over it

Binge watching describes watching multiple episodes of a TV show in one sitting. There is nothing wrong with it, so if you’re feeling ashamed of yourself, get over it. Here's why.

Your Status as a Single Person Is a Diversity Issue

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on January 28, 2016 Living Single
Here's why unmarried status is a diversity issue. In this article, I focus on the workplace.

Does the Internet Promote Delusional Thinking?

By Joe Pierre M.D. on January 25, 2016 Psych Unseen
With biased brains operating in online echo chambers and filter bubbles, normal people increasingly hold beliefs with delusional qualities.

Why Choose Cosmetic Surgery?

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on January 24, 2016 A Sideways View
Attractive people get treated in life more favourably than unattractive people. Unfair but true. Is this why people choose cosmetic surgery to attempt to make them more attractive?

Buffalo Trump

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on January 23, 2016 A Swim in Denial
Do you feel conflicted about politics? Does political talk stress you out? The psychology of play can help.

Day 5: Paula Caplan on Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis

The future of mental health series continues with Paula Caplan on bias in psychiatric diagnosis

Can Negative Age Stereotypes Predict Dementia?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on January 20, 2016 Media Spotlight
Two new studies suggest negative stereotypes about aging held by healthy adults can contribute to the brain abnormalities associated with Alzheimer’s disease as they grow older.

Being Anti-Racist, Not Non-Racist

By Gordon Hodson Ph.D. on January 20, 2016 Without Prejudice
Some people are content to be non-racist. But is that enough? What about the importance of directly opposing prejudices you observe in others?

MLK: The Role of the Behavioral Scientist

The policymakers of the white society have caused the darkness; they create discrimination; they structured slums; and they perpetuate unemployment, ignorance and poverty.

Stuttering and the Power of Suggestion

By Katherine Preston on January 19, 2016 Out With It
Is a stutter really 'debilitating'? A look at how stereotypes affect us and what can we do to lessen their impact.

The Oscars Boycott and the Psychology of Race in Movies

Racial bias in newspaper critics means films with a black lead actor and all white supporting cast are scored approximately on average 6 percent lower in movie reviews

My Singles Agenda

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on January 18, 2016 Living Single
Enough with the stereotyping and discrimination against single people. We need resources to support enlightened thinking, research, and writing about single life.

Slanted Eyes

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on January 14, 2016 Minority Report
“Chink!” “Where are you from?” “Do you eat dog?” “Why don’t you go back to where you came from?!” “You speak such good English!" This is part of the Asian-American experience.

Mental Maps and Cognitive Gaps

People who make judgments that affect others’ lives might not see how their own needs and biases influence their decisions.

The Curious Incident of the Black NFL Kicker

Black kickers have long been absent from the NFL. Why?

Political Correctness Unpacked

I am done apologizing for being a straight white male. Is it ok for me to say that? In this blog, I unpack political correctness, the good, the bad and the ugly.

10 Reasons Why Some People Are So Vulnerable to Depression

Why do some people experience depression following stressful life events? The answer lies in their way of thinking and attitudes.

Does Owning a Gun Protect You?

Guns are used by victims in less than 1% of crimes in which there is personal contact between the perpetrator and victim.

Women And Psychology-Related Career Opportunities

Have opportunities improved for women in Psychology-related careers? Definitely!

Does an ‘Obama Effect’ Increase Gun Ownership and Shooting?

...the apparent ‘panic’ buying of guns in the months before and immediately after Obama got elected, did permanently increase the total number of guns in circulation.

The Environmental Cues that Affect our Online Decisions

People are sensitive to their feelings of ease or difficulty, but unaware of what triggers these feelings.

Why You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

Find out how you’re really influencing the impression you make on others without even knowing it.