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

iclipart, used with permission

Multiple Personality or Malingering?

By Joni E Johnston Psy.D. on December 11, 2017 in The Human Equation
What happens when a person with multiple personalities kills? Pamela Moss claimed her alters were linked to two murders committed years apart but insisted she, the host, was not.

The Science of Toy Giving

By Vanessa LoBue, Ph.D. on December 11, 2017 in The Baby Scientist
Overwhelmed by holiday shopping? Science can help provide some helpful recommendations about toys that might promote exploration and learning in your children.
By Fiona ellis-chadwick (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

10 Factors That Influence Your Purchase Decisions

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on December 09, 2017 in Science of Choice
Consumers are powerfully influenced by their emotions, environmental cues, as well as by how options are presented to them.

The Many Mini Ways to Show You Care

It doesn't take a grand gesture to show someone that you care. With a "micro" act of kindness, according to new research, the payoff can be surprisingly high for both of you.

Celeste Headlee on Relearning to Listen

By Isaac Lidsky on December 08, 2017 in Mastering Your Reality
No, you don’t know how I feel, but I’m trying to tell you.

Is Psychology a "Self-Correcting" Science?

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on December 06, 2017 in Rabble Rouser
Is psychology a science? If so, where is the "scientific self-correction"?
Wikipedia Commons / Public Domain

How The Greatest Minds Solve Problems: Thinking Partners

By Al Pittampalli on December 06, 2017 in Are You Persuadable?
Arguing with someone else might the best way to make decisions, science reveals.

Judicial Notebook: Racism in Jury Deliberations

In October 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases that explore the extent to which racial bias can be remedied when it infects jury deliberations.

The Dangers of Homophobia

By Jennifer O’Brien Ph.D. on December 06, 2017 in All Things LGBTQ
Exploring the negative impact of discrimination, prejudice, and stigma on the mental health of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals.

Mandatory Implicit Bias Training Is a Bad Idea

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on December 02, 2017 in Rabble Rouser
Mandatory implicit bias training is all the rage. And seriously counterproductive.
Dino Reichmuth/Unsplash

The Intuition of Truth

By Ryan Smerek, Ph.D. on December 01, 2017 in Learning at Work
Why we should engage our intuitive reaction around truth.

Are You In Denial About Your Health?

By David Rosen on December 01, 2017 in Health 2.0
Why do some people needlessly put their health in jeopardy and take unnecessary risks with their well-being?

Why Profiling Serial Killers Can’t Work

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on November 30, 2017 in Feeling Our Way
All you know about a man is that he loves poetry and crossword puzzles. Is he more likely to be an English professor at Harvard or a truck driver?

Are Women Harsher in Judging Single Women Than Single Men?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on November 30, 2017 in Living Single
Are women especially judgmental and mean about single women, as the “catty women” caricature would suggest? Scientific studies provide a consistent answer.
By Piyush Ikhar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

7 Common Reasons Why People Use Drugs

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on November 28, 2017 in Science of Choice
Vulnerability to addiction can be explained by considering multilevel factors from the molecular to the societal.

Online Games, Harassment, and Sexism

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on November 26, 2017 in Pop Psych
Examining the reaction of men to male and female player voices in Halo 3

5 Tips for Being a Good Ally

By Jennifer O’Brien Ph.D. on November 24, 2017 in All Things LGBTQ
Want to know how to be as supportive as possible for people in the LGBTQ community?
Making Causal Judgment

Making Causal Judgment

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on November 21, 2017 in Science of Choice
Causal and counterfactual reasoning inform our judgments of causality.

Use Scientific Methods to Detect Fake News

Both fake news and science became salient issues during last year’s presidential election. Understanding the principles of scientific methods can help detect false information.

You Can't Be Mad At Your Mind for Having Unconscious Biases

By Elizabeth R Thornton on November 15, 2017 in The Objective Leader
You Can't Be Mad at Your Mind for Having Unconscious Biases You can be proud of yourself for overcoming your biases with the help of a Bias Transformation Worksheet

What Do You Bring to the Dating Table?

By Randi Gunther Ph.D. on November 15, 2017 in Rediscovering Love
Read now for the the 5 questions to ask yourself.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Ability to Read Emotions

Being unable to decode emotions seems to be an inherent feature of borderline personality disorder but new research shows it’s not as inevitable as you might think.

Digital Goods Valued Less Than Their Physical Counterparts

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on November 14, 2017 in Consumed
New research shows how much consumers value digital vs physical media.

Mass Public Shootings Are on the Rise

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on November 13, 2017 in Wicked Deeds
There are powerful social forces today that promote mass murder, including financial fears, distrust of government, prejudice and racism, terrorism and constant war.

How to Spot Fake News

By Sander van der Linden Ph.D. on November 12, 2017 in Social Dilemmas
Most people aren't able to distinguish fake from real news, can you? Here's five key tips to help spot fake news.

Are Racial Microaggressions on College Campuses Harmful?

A new study of college students finds that psychological harm due to racial microaggressions are real and not explained by the personality trait called neuroticism.

Tired of Feeling Divided?

By Peter T. Coleman Ph.D. on November 09, 2017 in The Five Percent
If you are tired of the dysfunction shackling our country and interested in promoting reasonable conversations with citizens from the other side, here are a few pointers.

Body Objectification: The Psychology Behind This Epidemic

By Zack Carter Ph.D. on November 09, 2017 in Clear Communication
Implicit association tests are clear but they shouldn't be an excuse to objectify the human body. Understanding the psychology behind objectification might help us fight back.

American Bigotry: Now It’s Personal

By Rupert W Nacoste Ph.D. on November 09, 2017 in A Quiet Revolution
Today we are seeing the panic that results when a sense of group superiority is no longer supported by legal social structures.
Altha Stewart, used with permission

A Historic Election

Is it about time?