The path to becoming Consciously Unbiased

21st December 2023 Yuet Hui Foo
Article Authors

Yuet Hui Foo

Yuet is a marketer with an engineering background, a Malaysian who has resided in Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, and for the past 16 years in Switzerland. Her passion for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) stems from her extensive experience at multinational corporations, global travels, multicultural family, and the belief that it is never too late to reshape our minds (she has proven that it is possible to learn and speak 3 new languages in adulthood!). Yuet encourages everyone to foster awareness of our unconscious biases to embrace diversity for a more inclusive world!

Unconscious biases are learned perceptions, images and stereotypes that operate automatically and involuntarily. Biases are formed based on our life experiences and maintained at the subconscious level. Unfortunately, these biases do not remain static in our brains, but translate into our behavior, and more importantly, influence our judgement and decisions. Everyone has biases; it does not make us a bad person, it just makes us human. However, knowing that biases could lead to suboptimal interactions and poor decisions, it should be in everyone’s interest to be aware of our biases and find ways to overcome it. The good news is, we can all learn to be less biased.

Do you think you are a biased person? Not at all? Better than the average? Yes, you have biases but you don’t act on them so its harmless. Really?

Watch this video and decide for yourself.

Blind spots: Overcome stereotypes

The video talks about Prototype Bias, which is the tendency to have a “model” candidate in mind for a position, and to only consider those who perfectly match this profile.

There are in fact more than 150 types of biases! But let’s focus on those that affect our decisions at the workplace. An example is Confirmation Bias, which is the tendency to favor our pre-existing ideas, perception or stereotype, EVEN in the face of strong evidence to the contrary. People with confirmation bias actively seek out information to confirm their pre-existing beliefs, while ignoring facts or evidence that contradict them. Confirmation bias can cause us to overestimate some people’s potential and overlook their flaws, while underestimating the potential of others. 

What other biases could people have? How do you think it affects their perception, judgement and decisions? Share your views and inputs with the SAMBA DE&I Council at: [email protected]

Interested to explore more deeply?

In the video, there was a small implicit associations test of our reaction to adjectives, for e.g. those associated to male or female. If you would like to uncover any implicit biases you might have (be it gender, race, age, weight, etc.), you might want to try out one of the Harvard Implicit Associations Tests:


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