- Unconscious biases are certain stereotypes and attitudes people accumulate through life that can often influence the way we think of other people, and how we judge them.
- Affinity bias happens quite often, and it makes us value people we share a simple connection with more than those that are not connected to us by something.
- Confirmation bias is our tendency to subconsciously look for any evidence that backs up our preconceived opinions of somebody.
Unconscious biases are specific stereotypes and attitudes people accumulate through life, and they can strongly influence our decision making, especially when it comes to situations where we must decide something quickly. Unconscious biases are most often a result of our upbringing, and the influence society has had over us while we were developing.
Certain thoughts and opinions come to us in ways that may seem natural, but they are a result of social structures and habits, not nature. When we make assessments based on these biases, we can often make mistakes, so we need to learn how to avoid them.
If a boss in a large company has certain unconscious biases, they can make decisions that limit the creativity of their workers. They can also continuously promote and hire a small, narrow pool of people that fits the criteria determined by their unconscious biases.
This can often lead to the prevention of productivity and innovation in the workplace. Although these biases are outside our awareness, we need to find ways how to get rid of them and start thinking by ourselves, and not under the influence of things we picked up through socialization. This article will name several types of different unconscious biases.
7. Contrast Effect
We should always judge people on their own merits; however, we often do not do so. The contrast effect refers to just that, us assessing people by comparing them to others, rather than by looking at their capabilities. These comparisons can be favorable or unfavorable, and it does not matter, this is an unconscious bias that should be avoided.
It makes no sense to look at someone by comparing them to other people, especially in situations where we need to make a quick judgment on a number of people. What if we met the person we are comparing to someone before that other person? With whom would we compare them then?
6. Conformity Bias
Conformity bias refers to the tendency to take advice from other people when trying to make an important decision. We instead believe others than our own, independent judgment. However, this is a practice that should be avoided since the difference in opinion can often lead to better results. Although sometimes others can have seemingly better ideas, those ideas are still theirs, and we should strive to believe ourselves and our judgment.
5. Confirmation Bias
Confirmation bias refers to our tendency to look for evidence that backs up our preconceived opinions of somebody. This is also an extremely problematic bias that can lead to issues in the workplace, for example. Sometimes we make a judgment about somebody, and we subconsciously look for any evidence that would back up that opinion.
We want to be right at any price, which can lead us to unfairly judging someone. This can be dangerous because we can potentially label someone as having certain bad qualities, although they do not, and we do it just because we want them to.
4. Attribution Bias
The attribution bias can significantly affect how we look at other people and their achievements. When we look at ourselves and everything we have achieved, we subconsciously tend to think our achievements are a result of our personality and abilities.
On the other hand, we tend to believe our failings have something to do with a number of external factors. However, when judging others, we tend to think the opposite, we believe their successes are a result of luck or them receiving help, and their failings happened because of their lack of abilities. This happens quite often.
3. The Horns Effect
Sitting on the opposite side of the spectrum of the Halo Effect is the Horns Effect. As you may have already guessed, this occurs when one negative trait influences our negative perception of a person. One example that is quite often is when people judge a person according to how they dress. It is just a minor detail that does not say that much about a person, but people often make presumptions based on it.
2. Halo Effect
The Halo Effect is a type of bias that makes us think favorably of a person because of a single quality they exhibited. This quality then greatly influences how we perceive everything else the person does; it becomes a halo over their head. For example, finding out someone is highly educated may make us consider a person to be smart and knowledgeable, even if they are not necessarily like that.
1. Affinity Bias
Affinity bias makes us favor people that we feel like we have a connection to. Some examples may include coming from the same hometown, attending the same college, or simply the fact that these people remind us of some other person we know and like.
This can impact our judgment when interacting with these people, making us feel more attached to them subconsciously. This may not be a bad thing in some instances, like when we meet new people in an informal environment, but can lead to problems at the workplace.