What Is Bias?

A bias is a tendency. Most biases—like preferring to eat food instead of paper clips—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. 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

Should Everyone Get a Plus-1 Invitation? What about Minus-1?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on April 30, 2016 Living Single
Beyond the plus-one: I'm also in favor of the minus-one invitation.

Why Is the Truth So Important?

Are you confused about your own experiences? Did they really happen or are you or your therapist distorting them? Who is the expert?

Hamilton: Making History

The beauty of "Hamilton," in its casting and musical styles, is that it manifests—and makes real—the inclusive potential that was there in the early moments of the United States.

Molesley’s Dilemma

Downtown Abbey's Molesley finally got his dream job—after spending years working at a lowly, "make-do" one. How do employers today respond to evidence of make-do jobs on résumés?

Stress and Latino Mental Health

The APA Stress in America survey finds that Latinos report the highest stress levels related to sources such as money, employment, family responsibilities and health concerns.

Are Men and Women Portrayed Differently in TV Ads

Does television mirror or mould attitudes to gender differences? Why are males portrayed more often as professional authorities and women as naïve consumers all around the world

Misplaced Pity for Prince

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on April 22, 2016 Living Single
The usual pity party for people who die "alone" was not well attended this time.

Consciousness, Suffering and the Rights of Animals

Can an amoeba suffer and should we care?

Do Liberals Inadvertently Help Donald Trump?

By Rolf Reber Ph.D. on April 20, 2016 Critical Feeling
Donald Trump is the frontrunner in the Republican primaries. How could he become so popular? Cool research helps explain the heated dynamics of present-day politics.

"All Muslims Are Terrorists!"

By Izzy Kalman on April 19, 2016 Resilience to Bullying
News about terrorism has fostered Islamophobic bullying. Here is simple advice, consistent with Islamic teachings, on how Muslims can cope with Islamophobic bullying.

Think You're a Free Thinker? Think Again

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on April 19, 2016 How To Do Life
Our thinking is heavily influenced by sources that all have the same bias.

What Happens When Prejudiced People Meditate?

A new study finds that mediation can be a good vehicle for reducing prejudice towards the "other" who is not part of one's own ethnic group.

Is Multiple Choice Testing Immoral?

By Rolf Reber Ph.D. on April 15, 2016 Critical Feeling
Should multiple choice tests be banned because students learn false facts from wrong response options?

Daring to Hear Voices

Tulpamancers conjure sentient imaginary friends they experience as voices. They have a lot to teach us about what we never dare to imagine and experience.

No Lack of Conspiracy Theories

By E E Smith on April 15, 2016 Not Born Yesterday
If you think the Pentagon is concealing information about UFO's and what really happened at Roswell, that global warming is a hoax, or that the CIA killed JFK, you are not alone.

The Case Against Viktor Frankl

Controversy has trailed the psychologist ever since his best-selling book popularized logotherapy worldwide.

Work: The #1 Recovery Goal

New atypical antipsychotic drugs make it possible for many people with serious mental illness to work. Old stereotypes keep them on the fringes of the labor force.

Art Therapist: Ambassador in the Prison Subculture

To provide care within the primitive prison subculture, the art therapist must act as an ambassador and compromise with the foreign dynamics—the trick is to not appear to do so.

4 Ways Your Worries Can Get Out of Control

What factors combine to turn an emerging worry into a distressing activity that you can’t seem to disengage from?

Trillin v. Twitter: Have They Run Out of Ordnance Yet?

Calvin Trillin drew online ire for a satiric poem about Chinese food. What does this tell us about the psychology of anger, racism and social media?

Why Dual Ticket Pricing at India’s Taj Mahal is Wrong

Price discrimination done incorrectly victimizes tourists & leaves them feeling humiliated & upset.

Bathrooms Have Always Been a Civil Rights Issue

NC HB2 controls which bathrooms transgendered persons can use. "White only" we have seen before. Why? If you use the same bathroom, you cannot say you are a more authentic human.

MRIs Reveal Unconscious Bias in the Brain

Unconscious bias has been identified, observed and validated in brain studies using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology. Unconscious bias is now acknowledged. A must read!

Why Are Filipino Americans Still Forgotten and Invisible?

Despite Filipinos' unique history in the U.S., large numbers, and many struggles that challenge the “model minority myth”, they are still ignored and rendered invisible. Why?

Laws Governing the Use of Public Bathrooms

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on April 05, 2016 Fighting Fear
The "shy bladder," paruresis, is explained. An examination of the implications of the North Carolina law barring LGBT individuals from public bathrooms.

Men's Top-Dog Power Gestures Make Them Seem Untrustworthy

In a new study, male speakers making lots of wide-reaching arm gestures (like Trump's) were generally seen as dominant. But they were also seen as fakers.

Social Psychology: It’s "Obvious" or it’s "False"

Think twice before dismissing research findings: When we hear of results that seem plausible, we label them "obvious", but when they're counterintuitive, we declare them false.

Overwhelmed: Why Trump is Happening Now

Trump supporters show more prejudiced attitudes, but does that explain Trumpism? If you look deeper, research suggests that the story is more nuanced.

Top Pacific Heart Stories of 2015-2016

April 1, 2016 marks the end of my 5th year of blogging for Psychology Today. Here are my top and essential reads for the last year.

Got Mothering Guilt?

By Amy Tuteur M.D. on March 31, 2016 Push Back
You shouldn't feel guilty about an epidural, a C-section or formula feeding.