Bias. It’s a word that makes most of us squirm. Bias implies to us that we are “bad people” and are being accused of deliberately discriminating against others. Yet, if you ask a social scientist, you will find that it doesn’t mean that at all; implicit bias is a neurologically based, energy-saving short cut. We form our implicit biases subconsciously over time, influenced by our upbringing, societal norms, and life experiences.
While bias is benign in some examples, when relied on for decisions regarding people, implicit bias can inadvertently cause us to exclude others, tune out their ideas, or under- or overestimate their abilities. In this talk, we will discuss how to actively address, or mitigate, our biases---both individually and institutionally---so that we can truly realize our value system of meritocracy in science and engineering.