Unconscious bias resources and links

These links relate to the unconscious bias discussion on the If you’re not aware of your unconscious bias, you’re holding yourself back podcast (with Paul Tizzard).

“You don’t know what you don’t know: How our unconscious minds undermine the workplace” – from Google’s blog, and includes the 3-minute video summing up unconscious bias.

Google Talk on unconscious bias (on YouTube).

Implicit Association Test (Harvard University).

“You’re more biased than you think” article on FastCompany website.

“Rise Of The Bias Busters: How Unconscious Bias Became Silicon Valley’s Newest Target” article on Forbes website.

“The downside of diversity” article on Boston Globe website.

Wikipedia page on Heuristics and Bias (discusses Kahneman and Tversky’s heuristics)

Confronting Prejudice: How to Protect Yourself and Others resource from OnlinePsychology@Pepperdine, the Online Master of Psychology program from Pepperdine University

More detail on diversity in organisations

Scott E Page talk on Leveraging Diversity (YouTube).


This is the illusion discussed in the podcast about how persistent the subjective experience is, even when we know that the objective truth is different.

In the picture below, squares A and B are actually the same colour, but our brain shortcuts this level of detail and shows square A to be darker than square B. This is because the pattern of the chessboard is enough for the brain to fill in the blanks, it ignores the detail of the exact shades of grey.

This illusion persists even when you know it’s not true.

Unconscious Bias

This is not an optical illusion – your eyes are not fooled, it is your brain that is fooling you by ignoring the detail that is being sent by your eyes.

People tend not to believe this when shown, and will come up with all sorts of explanations as to why I am wrong, and why square A is darker than square B – proving how persistent the effect is, and how they must twist the world around them to avoid challenging their own subjective experience.

You can prove it by breaking the pattern (copy-paste rectangles over the chessboard, leaving only the two squares visible, and they will appear the same colour).

I used Snipping Tool to snip out each square individually – see below.

If you don’t believe this, and think I have played some sort of trick, question yourself. Which is more likely, your own brain has taken a shortcut and given you duff information, or I have played some pointless trick for no reason or gain?