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

When Should You Go With Your Intuitions?

Do you trust your gut? Going with your intuitions can be dangerous in some situations. This article helps you see when you should go with your gut, and when you shouldn't.

"Us" and "Them"

By Jann Gumbiner Ph.D. on April 25, 2017 in The Teenage Mind
Many of the principles studied by social psychologists after WWII apply to our current political climate.

How Behavioral Science Can Help Truth Triumph Over Lies

Worried about deceptive political coverage by the media? This article shows how you can take steps to fix this problem!

Is Willful Ignorance a Good Quality in an Attorney?

Why do family law attorneys ignore the research which supports the benefits of a facilitative over an adversarial approach for divorce and family law?

A Fool and His or Her Money, Psychologically Speaking

Three cognitive biases that can lead to unwise financial decisions.

Of March and Myth: The Politicizing of Science

What differentiates science from other disciplines is a focus on testing of hypotheses. Is science now struggling with a 'crisis of confidence'? Is a March for Science the answer?

Why Hitler Did Not Use Chemical Weapons on the Battlefield

By Gordon Hodson Ph.D. on April 18, 2017 in Without Prejudice
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer recently stated (incorrectly) that Hitler did not use chemical weapons on his own people. How can psychology inform this discussion?

Why Do Millennials Get a Bad Rap?

Maybe it is just a failure of generativity.

Why I am Marching in the March for Science

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on April 17, 2017 in Rabble Rouser
Two reasons to march in The March for Science.

Injustice at the Hands of Judges and Justices

Judicial bias is a variable that is often overlooked, despite the fact that it leads to injustice.
National Center for Education Statistics/U.S. Department of Education. Retrieve from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cnb.asp

Why Do Students of Color Feel Like an Imposter in School?

Do students of color have perceptions of intelligence? Some thoughts on feeling like an imposter

The Brain's Fixation on the Short Term Is Hurting Politics

By David B. Feldman Ph.D. on April 11, 2017 in Supersurvivors
When the Senate used the nuclear option, changing how it confirms Supreme Court nominees, some who voted for it said it was a bad idea. A cognitive bias explains why they did it.

The Most Powerful Way to Learn is Not What You Think

Before attempting to learn something new to keep yourself marketable in a changing environment, try these three approaches to "unlearning."

Positive Heuristics

Researchers are looking at heuristics the wrong way — as sources of bias and error. In fact, they are powerful strategies for making inferences under uncertainty and ambiguity.

The Real Truth About Your Weight and Health

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on April 08, 2017 in Eating Mindfully
New research suggests that it could be weight-stigma--not our actual weight--that leads to poor health.

Empathy and the Jury Selection Process

If "equal justice under law" means what it says, then judges and jurors hearing cases must have evenly distributed empathy.

Working While Black

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on April 06, 2017 in Minority Report
We've heard of African-Americans being racially targeted while driving, a.k.a. "driving while black," but few are aware of another kind of bias.

The Psychology of Job Interviews

By The Book Brigade on April 06, 2017 in The Author Speaks
The vaunted—and often stressful—job interview can be a far more useful tool for finding the right employment fit.

Why "Good Looks" Influences Our Judgment

By Ray Williams on April 05, 2017 in Wired for Success
There’s substantial evidence to indicate we make judgments about people based on their physical attractiveness, which affect relationships, job selection and success.

How to Quickly Become More Persuasive

Are you having trouble grabbing people's attention—even for ideas you KNOW would benefit them? Here's the likely reason—and how to change it.

A Practical Guide to Not Settling

What if the people that shape our world for the better are no smarter than we are – as Steve Jobs believed? How do they find the path to extraordinary accomplishment?

What Bias Looks Like for Me

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on April 03, 2017 in Minority Report
Do you feel warmly or coldly towards white people? How about Black people? Foreigners? Muslims? Christians? As you can see, there will always be those we feel more comfortable.
Krystine I. Batcho

Are Your Conversations Becoming More Difficult?

Is winning an argument worth losing a friend or ruining a relationship? More productive conversations preserve and enrich relationships.

Bias isn't Bad

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on April 01, 2017 in Minority Report
Having candid conversations about race is very difficult as Caucasians may equate bias as being racist. As an Asian-American I can admit to having bias but the difference is....

What's "Best" Varies, Depending upon the Needs Involved

What's "better" or "best" in any situation is a matter of perspective, and the perspective that matters most is that held by the individuals in need of a given product or service.

Why We (Often) Believe Fake News

Fake news has a strong appeal. Why do we fall for it?

On Race and the Internet

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on March 30, 2017 in Media Spotlight
While the Internet has long been seen as the last bastion of free speech where anyone could post comments without fear, the dark side of this freedom is also apparent

The Relationship Between Video Games and Sexism?

There is little evidence, but findings get hyped anyway.

Addiction and Self-Deception

Why do addicts hold on to false beliefs about their use?

Would You Date Someone in a Wheelchair?

Is a wheelchair a hindrance to romance? If your answer is 'yes', perhaps you are too focused on what your relationship will look like to other people.