Valerie Purdie-Vaughns on Unintentional Bias
We may have the best intentions, but our minds may still play tricks on us. This can complicate situations in ways that we’re not even aware, and produce negative outcomes. Want to avoid unintentional bias? Learn how to “wake up” from it.
Becoming aware of unintentional bias is essential to great leadership. In no case is this greater than in the issue of diversity. Big Think has written about how diversity strengthens organizations, even leading to better decision-making. It’s in the best interest of leaders to build diverse organizations. Unfortunately, in the quest for diversity, too many leaders are unaware of how unintentional bias is getting in their way and actually undermining the people they’re seeking to help.
“Discrimination and bias and inequities is one of the most important topics of the day today. One of the reasons why is that many, many companies are becoming increasingly diverse. Companies value diversity. They think it's really important,” says Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, the Director of the Laboratory of Intergroup Relations and the Social Mind at Columbia University. “And yet the way our brain works we still engage in many different kinds of biases and they happen outside of our awareness.”
For more on Purdie-Vaughns’s insights into unintentional bias, including the disturbing differences commonly found in letters of recommendation written for men versus those written for women, watch this clip from Big Think’s interview:
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
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