Scientists are often unaware of unconscious biases that may affect their decisions in the workplace. Understanding how unconscious bias affects mentees and mentors, as well as the scientific community at large, is becoming increasingly important as we continue to strive toward new and exciting scientific innovations. The best environment for high impact scientific advancements is one where people of diverse view points and backgrounds work together to share ideas and find creative solutions. An unconscious bias that limits the potential contributions of a particular group of people risks impeding the rate of scientific discovery. Unconscious bias refers to stereotypes and opinions that influence our actions and thoughts without us being consciously aware of them. An unconscious bias can be favorable or unfavorable and exists in everyone, having been developed throughout our lives. Often these biases go unnoticed. For example, a manager may hire an employee who has a similar cultural, racial or ethnic background because he or she can easily relate to them. Unconscious biases are malleable and subject to change with new experiences. Becoming aware of potential biases is the first step to preventing us from acting on them. This will in turn help improve workplace communication, efficiency, and diversity.

Resources in this section will address:

  • What are the unconscious biases that affect the scientific community?
  • How can we identify an unconscious bias within ourselves?
  • What are the best approaches to overcoming unconscious bias?
  • How can efforts to curb bias help create a more diverse workplace?