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

Fighting Lung Cancer Stigmas Saves Lives

How reframing lung cancer can lead to earlier diagnoses, more knowledge about the disease and maybe, just maybe, a cure.

"Us" and "Them"...Two Solitudes

People tend to be clannish, and often live in "emotionally-gated communities," in which they seldom communicate. These separations can breed prejudice and conflict, as we often see

Four Attractive Stereotypes You Shouldn't Try to Conform To

By Mairi Macleod Ph.D. on July 26, 2016 in Sexy Science
If you act dumb to appeal to men, or you flash your cash to pull women, then don't be surprised if you attract the wrong types.

What Explains Demographic Gaps? Simpson's Paradox

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on July 25, 2016 in Rabble Rouser
Racial, gender, and other gaps do not always reflect discrimination

The True Cost of a Tattoo

Even though more people are getting tattoos, employer bias against visible tattoos endures.

Trump, Stress Reactivity, Trance, and Ethics

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on July 24, 2016 in Moral Landscapes
Donald Trump paints pervasive threat, triggering the brain’s survival systems and attracting submission to his vision of dominance.

Who Is That Big, Green Judging Machine?

By Marcia Reynolds Psy.D. on July 23, 2016 in Wander Woman
Judging and criticizing can be exhausting. So why does your brain thrive on hurling insults? Learn why and what you can do to gain peace of mind and better relationships.

The Rules of Engagement in Controversial Discourse

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on July 22, 2016 in Rabble Rouser
How to engage in civll discourse on controversial topics without really having to try all that hard.

Juries, Lawyers, and Race Bias

By Art Markman Ph.D. on July 22, 2016 in Ulterior Motives
Juries are a central part of the legal system. Racial bias can cause significant problems in juries. Are lawyers sensitive to the biases of jurors?

5 Psychological Tricks to Get Ahead in Job Interviews

Think the job interview is only about your skills and education? You may be surprised to learn some tricks to positively influence your chances of employment.

The Disunited States of America and the Bystander Effect

By Sean Cort on July 18, 2016 in The Power of Perspective
Our nation is actually a 'nation-family' and we are suffering from an illness that could prove fatal.

Proactively Coping With Racism

For most people of color, it becomes increasingly impossible to escape the stress caused by the barrage of news coverage broadcasting the gruesome details of racial violence.

Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes With Their Money: Part 2

Are your beliefs about the stock market costing you money?

We’re All a Bit Racist

It may be unintentional, but we’re all a little bit racist.

Silence Is Not Always Golden

By Deborah J. Cohan, Ph.D. on July 17, 2016 in Social Lights
The need to talk to your children about diversity in these violent times.

Musings About Police Violence

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on July 16, 2016 in Pop Psych
Some thoughts on how to improve the quality of discussions surrounding police shootings

D.W. Sue: Microaggressions Are NOT Always Racism

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on July 15, 2016 in Rabble Rouser
Promoter of the term "microaggression" regrets its weaponization and chilling effect on campus free speech.

Why It Is So Easy to Hate Each Other

One of the oldest and most pernicious of human qualities is the ease with which we put people into categories.

Wise Up: Study Aging

By Christina Pierpaoli on July 13, 2016 in Eng(aging)
In the 20th century, adult life expectancy has nearly doubled. Here’s why aging is a boon for psychology—and perhaps—for you.

The Conversation About Race and Racism in America

By Marty Babits on July 13, 2016 in The Middle Ground
The conversation on race that we must encourage and participate in must be built on empathy that is laced with compassion.

Dissecting Sheldon Cooper

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on July 13, 2016 in Media Spotlight
If you've seen even a single episode of the hit sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, then you're familiar with Dr. Sheldon Cooper. Understanding the antics of an eccentric genius.

White Like Me, Nice Like Me

By Laurie Essig Ph.D. on July 12, 2016 in Social Studies
"Nice" white people like me insist we are anti-racist. Yet we are "nice" precisely because we believe in our inherent goodness as white people.

Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes With Their Money: Part 1

Are your beliefs about the stock market costing you money?

The American Race Problem

By Guy P. Harrison on July 12, 2016 in About Thinking
America is again focusing on its race problem and, once again, ignoring the past

An Officer’s Worst Day

The police will be there for you on your worst day. Will you be there for them on theirs?

GOP Declares War on Modern Sexuality

By David J Ley Ph.D. on July 11, 2016 in Women Who Stray
The 2016 GOP convention is contemplating strident stances that express opposition to our society's sweeping changes to sexual values and behaviors.

Racism and Violence in America

What can well-intentioned white allies do to increase justice and reform and decrease violence in our communities? Here are five guidelines supported by research.

Bias on Both Sides

Shootings: confirmation bias is a two-way street
<a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_guita22'>guita22 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Why Do We Hate Difference?

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on July 10, 2016 in Off the Couch
Why do leaders who nurture prejudice and fan the flames of hatred become so incredibly and disturbingly popular? And what can you do about it?

Thinking While Black

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on July 09, 2016 in Obesely Speaking
Racism and the brain-gut connection – a neuroscience perspective on racially motivated police violence towards Black Americans.