Categories: Innovation, Leadership Development, One Second Ahead
Every time you see someone, the amygdala makes an immediate decision on whether they are part of an ingroup (people like you) or a more threatening outgroup. The amygdala hijack occurs when the medial pre fontal cortex fails to regulate your thoughts and you end up regarding your ‘outgroups’ as stereotypes and as possible threats.So how can you avoid an amygdala hijack? It start with awareness. Neuroscience can answer some of this and we know so much more as a result of the research conducted in the past decade.Harvard’s world famous Implicit Association Test (IAT), the most widely accepted way to quantify biases and assumptions has been taken 15 million times in the past 15 years. Google and other major Corp’s have put all their staff through these assessments and ‘unconscious bias’ trainingWhat is unconscious bias?
Unconscious bias affects every area of our lives. Unconsciously, we tend to like people who look like us, think like us and come from backgrounds similar to ours. Everyone likes to think he or she is open-minded and objective, but research has shown that the beliefs and values gained from family, culture and a lifetime of experiences heavily influence how we view and evaluate both others and ourselves.
These thought patterns, assumptions and interpretations – or biases – we have built up over time help us to process information quickly and efficiently. From a survival standpoint, bias is a positive and necessary trait. In business, however, bias can be costly. It can cause us to make decisions that are not objective; and ultimately we miss opportunities
The really interesting thing is that if you ask people to self report before an IAT assessment, I can guarantee that they’ll say they are not racist or discriminatory in anyway. Leaders are often surprised by the output of the IAT tests but one shouldn’t beat yourself by this and take this as a step to been more aware of you biases.
Testing, at the very least, provides us with information about our biases so;