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

We’ve Been Warned!

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on April 19, 2015 in Time Out
The precursors of group violence, terrorism and even genocide have been identified. Despite extreme cultural and religious differences between the terrorist of Oklahoma City and 9/11 - they emerged from ideologically similar muck that continues to produce horrific mass murderers internationally. We hate to face it, but we must.

All Kids Lie To Their Parents. But When? How Much?

Respecting children's boundaries while staying strict and engaged is the best way to encourage them to share information and to keep them from lying.

Will You Be Openly Secular?

By David Niose on April 19, 2015 in Our Humanity, Naturally
Openly Secular Day aims to encourage nonbelievers to be open about their personal secularity.

10 Tips to Change From Reactive to Proactive in Situations

All of us encounter experiences in life when we may be temporally overwhelmed by a negative emotion, be it anger, pressure, nervousness, despair, or confusion. In these situations, how we choose to “master the moment” can make the difference between proactive versus reactive, and confidence versus insecurity. Here are ten ways to be less reactive in difficult situations...

Why do we like our bully boss?

By Eyal Winter on April 18, 2015 in Feeling Smart
Check if you have a Stockholm Bias toward your Bully Boss.

Is Birth Order a Myth?

Most people believe that birth order shapes our personalities and has impact on the careers we choose, and the ways we behave. Is this real, or merely an illusion? What do we really know about birth order effects?

Fifty Shades of Gay

By Rick Miller LICSW on April 17, 2015 in Unwrapped
An ever-widening spectrum of choices and possibilities means that the gay community is truly taking on all of the colors of the rainbow, every shade and hue.

What Causes You Inner Turmoil?

Being in heated conflict not with others but with yourself can—let’s face it—be agonizing. To be split down the middle, to endlessly waver between two (and sometimes more) options, can at its worst be almost unimaginably distressing. Obsessive to an extreme, it can lead to a paralysis of will (not to mention, much lost sleep). . . .

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle Rules—But Whose Hand Is It?

The history of the nature/nurture controversy reveals fraud on the nurture side and developments in our view of nature that the imprinted brain theory readily explains.

What Makes Us Tick?

They met in a airport because of a book that one of them was reading, the same the other had recently read. The conversation was so stimulating that they decided to continue it online and share it with their readers. They both believe this will be the first of an endless series of talks about the subject—what makes people tick—that tickles them the most.

The Death of Mr. Economicus

By Thomas Hills Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Statistical Life
For many years, we thought humans were rational. Homo economicus was the protagonist of the human story, and he knew what he was about. He was the James Bond of decision making, and he didn't let the universe push him around. The only problem was that he didn't exist.

Empathy

How do we come by what's morally right or wrong?

Hoarders and Collectors

By Elias Aboujaoude M.D. on April 16, 2015 in Compulsive Acts
A hoarding diagnosis should have nothing to do with a person’s net worth or a clinician’s take on what is worth collecting and what does not deserve getting attached to.

Outing My Inner Racist

Me: Otis, it’s been two days and I can’t stand how the deck is stacked against us and justice. I’ll bet you’ve felt that before. Otis: I’ve never felt any different. Me: It’s awful. Why didn’t you tell me it was so bad? Otis (looking me directly in the eye): Because YOU didn’t want to know!

Expanding the Self

We should reciprocate the gift of our own lives..... To be focused narrowly - worrying excessively about our personal skills and accomplishments and about the public's regards of these - is to remain forever a child.

Finding Home with Jesse Malin

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on April 15, 2015 in Brick by Brick
Jesse Malin shares how he has used music and creativity to create community.

A Great Time for Women in STEM

By Jesse Marczyk on April 15, 2015 in Pop Psych
Women seem to be advantaged when it comes to getting hired in STEM fields. They need only apply.

All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism

In an exclusive interview, authors Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer discuss their acclaimed book, "All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism." Not just any children's book, it includes a reading guide about the challenges and strengths of individuals on the autism spectrum, along with tips and support information for parents and caregivers.

Overweight as a Hollywood Character

By Ann Goebel-Fabbri PhD on April 14, 2015 in Weighty Matters
This partly satirical essay uses a mainstream Hollywood film as a subtle example of weight stereotyping.

5 Questions We Often Ask Ourselves After Microaggressions

Society’s awareness of microaggressions and its many expressions have increased over the past few years. The internal dialogues and psychological struggles that microaggressions cause marginalized people, however, are rarely discussed and remain largely “Unseen and Unheard” by the general public. I hope this helps.

5 Benefits of Being in a Loving, Long-Term Relationship

By Alice Boyes Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in In Practice
Here are some of the personal benefits you can reap as a result of being in a committed and loving relationship.

Newsflashes from Emotion Science

A few reflections on the themes that emerged from the second annual meeting of the Society for Affective Science, a new society dedicated to understanding our emotional lives.

Pregnant? Easier to Be Fired Than You Think

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in Singletons
Pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant? More women are working while pregnant and working longer into their pregnancies than in previous decades, especially among those having their first child. In spite of laws to protect them, employers find ways to discriminate, circumvent the laws and dismiss them.

At Least Get Gender Right!

Film & TV media sell females short

Faulty Reporting on ADHD

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on April 11, 2015 in Side Effects
Newspaper of record criticized for its tardy response to overmedicalization.

10 Great Ways to Get to Know New People Without Awkwardness

Icebreakers are a traditional way to overcome the original awkwardness that many people feel when they first form a group. Whether it’s with a class, a set of co-workers, or a volunteer committee, a little psychology will go a long way toward building group cohesion and identity.

Starbucks "Race Together Campaign"

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on April 10, 2015 in Minority Report
What happens when Starbucks unveils a campaign to encourage conversations about race and culture? A Starbucks executive didn't receive the memo and makes his own racist comments to a Chinese-American at a Seattle store.

The Best of Times or the Worst of Times for Marriage?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on April 10, 2015 in Living Single
Fewer people are marrying than ever before, as claims about the power of marriage—for adults, for children, and for society—intensify. How accurate are those claims? What are the implications of offering more incentives to people to get married and more benefits and protections once they do?

The Freedom to Enjoy Secure Functioning

By Stan Tatkin Psy.D. on April 09, 2015 in The Puzzle of Love
Psychological principles underlie the current political debate over same-sex unions. Like all couples, same-sex couples have a better chance to thrive in an environment that supports their ability to form a secure-functioning relationship.