Examples of Implicit and Explicit Biases
The existence of implicit and explicit biases is an unfortunate side effect of the human condition. Through the process of socialization, people gain knowledge of their environment, themselves, and other individuals. Biases are constructed when the human brain attempts to understand a complex issue by creating associations and correlations. In practice, the resulting assumptions may often incorrectly represent the topic in question and not align with the beliefs of a person.
I have witnessed the existence of implicit and explicit biases in myself and my relatives. For an example of explicit bias, my mother used to say that men were ill-suited for cooking and could not make complex dishes. This belief manifested in an inability to believe that her husband could prepare food for himself. In regards to implicit bias, I often instinctively thought that women wearing revealing clothing had low intelligence. Of course, the clothing choices of an individual have no bearing on their cognitive abilities, but I feel that surrounding society has conditioned me to see it as an indicator.
Importance and Influence on Human Behavior
Understanding one’s own biases are the first step to combating them. Beliefs or predispositions formed by conscious and subconscious thought hinder a person’s ability to critically think and improve as an individual. A person with an implicit bias will inadvertently make decisions that reflect it, regardless of their intentions. Many biases exist as a result of social conditioning and influence the way people interact with each other, their presence leading to mistreatment and abuse of groups historically regarded as evil or inferior. Even when the majority of the world has recognized that racial, sexual, and ethnic discrimination are harmful, some common perceptions still contribute to an unjust society. To make the world a better, fairer place for everybody, people need to understand how biases can affect their behavior.