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Understanding Unconscious Bias


The Royal Society




This animation introduces the key concepts of unconscious bias. It forms part of the Royal Society’s efforts to ensure that all those who serve on Royal Society selection and appointment panels are aware of differences in how candidates may present themselves, how to recognise bias in yourself and others, how to recognise inappropriate advocacy or unreasoned judgement.


The unconscious mind is amazing. It can process vastly more information than our conscious mind by using shortcuts based on our background, cultural environment, and personal experiences to make almost instantaneous decisions about everything around us. The snag is, it's wrong. Quite a lot of the.

Especially on matters that need rational thinking. Here's a classic example. A bat and a ball cost, one pound, 10 pence. If the bat costs one pound more than the ball, how much does the ball cost? Most people, including over 50% of students at some of the world's leading universities, get the answer wrong and say 10 pence.

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