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

Examining the Link Between Racism and Health

There is a growing body of evidence that racial discrimination triggers a chronic stress response, leading to a variety of health problems.

#MeToo and Preventing Sexual Harassment at School

How to talk about #metoo and reduce sexual harassment in schools.

The Reality of Whiteness

Why are some white people so reluctant to acknowledge racism and white privilege? Opening minds and hearts to the need for more progress.

Confirmation Bias: Why You Make Terrible Life Choices

By Nir Eyal on October 17, 2017 in Automatic You
Confirmation bias is a cognitive shortcut that can lead to some pretty horrendous decisions. Here's how to recognize and overcome it in your life.

Looking Into The Eyes of Your Older Self

Do you worry about growing older? You are not alone.

"Me Too" and the Limits of Internet Empathy

The "Me Too" campaign on social media highlights the prevalence of misogyny, sexual harassment and assault. But our online engagement may take us farther from resolution.

Homo Dichotomus

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on October 14, 2017 in One Among Many
When statisticians call each other mad.

Over Half of Bisexual Youth Don't Have Family Support

What can straight parents do to support their bisexual children?

The Black Woman’s Guide to Getting Help for PPD

The hit comedy Black-ish tackles postpartum depression in a mom of color. If you are struggling, here is how to break the "strong black woman" stereotype and get help now.
Photo by Tracy Thomas on Unsplash

Fine, Take My Phone—at Least Grandma Understands Me

Is it possible that grandparents understand and empathize with their grandkids’ use of devices more than parents?

Racism Is Everywhere…or Is It, Really?

By John Staddon, Ph.D. on October 07, 2017 in Adaptive Behavior
Should some speech be suppressed? When is in not legitimate to present both sides of an argument?

A Simpler, Smarter Response to Accusations

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 06, 2017 in Ambigamy
"Well, of course, I'm biased, like you, like everyone. The only question here is whether I'm biased appropriately."

All-Female "Lord of the Flies" Remake

How would a Muslim girl, a transgender boy, a girl suffering from autism (and, of course, a female 'Piggy') influence dynamics in an all-female Lord of the Flies remake?

Whose Job Is It Anyway?

By Elly Vintiadis Ph.D. on October 04, 2017 in Minding the Mind
We all have an ethical responsibility to fight stigma, but mental health professionals have a bit more.

What David and Goliath Teach Entrepreneurs About Winning

By Chengwei Liu Ph.D. on October 03, 2017 in Decisions Defined
What the David and Goliath story teaches entrepreneurs about beating incumbents? Do not copy their "best practices." Instead, exploiting their predictable blind spots.

How To Design Your Best Future

By Peter Bregman on October 03, 2017 in How We Work
Discover the five design mindsets, how to make decisions in the face of uncertainty, and whether you should work through or around your problems.

Virtues, Values, and Moral Bullying

Who shouts loudest on social media probably isn't the most critical of thinkers.

Why Does the Man Without Fear Become a Loner Among Heroes?

Why is the superhero nicknamed "the Man without Fear" arguably the biggest loner among Marvel superheroes? Do both disability and ability make Daredevil distant and disconnected?
Image courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Why Is It Important for Black Parents to Talk About Racism?

Research shows that talking about racism is protective against negative mental health for Black youth.

It Won't Take Long

By Nathan A Heflick Ph.D. on September 30, 2017 in The Big Questions
Do those in power estimate the time things will take to be completed more than those not in power?

Cognitive Dissonance

What happens when you receive information or behave in a way that is totally contradictory to your beliefs? You experience cognitive dissonance.

Why Buy Fine Art?

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on September 28, 2017 in The Me in We
The reasons for buying fine art are mostly psychological.

When Pretty White Women Kill.

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on September 25, 2017 in Wicked Deeds
When an attractive young, white woman goes on trial for murder, a public feeding frenzy ensues for graphic images and information about the case in the media.

Aging Shrinks the Brain

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on September 23, 2017 in Memory Medic
Age discrimination is not defensible. Each elderly person's mental competence has to be judged on its own merits, not on a negative stereotype of the elderly.

Our Amazing Ability to Quickly Judge People's Personality

Even when we only get a chance to look at a person for a few seconds, our judgment of personality is fairly reliable. What is the reason behind this almost "magic" ability?

What Narcissists Won’t Tell You About their Past

Although no one’s memory is perfect, memory in people high in narcissism is particularly flawed, especially when it comes to their flaws. New research shows why they're so biased.

No Sexism In Scrabble

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on September 22, 2017 in Pop Psych
Explaining sex differences in more objective fields

Weight Loss, Dating, and Relationships

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on September 21, 2017 in Media Spotlight
Does the stigma against obesity even apply to people who have successfully lost weight? New research provides a look at how this kind of stigma can affect mating choices.

How Many Americans Want to Be Single? Results of 5 Studies

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on September 20, 2017 in Living Single
How many unmarried Americans want to be married? 5 studies suggest answers, but it will take a revolution to know for sure.

Myths and Truths About Successful CEOs

By Ray Williams on September 19, 2017 in Wired for Success
Myths about what constitutes successful CEOs in America persist—reinforced by the media, corporate boards and some business experts.