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If you or your team fail this test, you might need implicit bias training

A collection of close up faces of black and white people

Implicit association test can help you understand yourself

Harvard University’s Project Implicit has designed a series of short tests that let you privately quiz against any implicit biases you might have. There are 15 implicit association test options covering a variety of discriminatory behaviors, like racial bias, gender bias, religious and sexual biases, and more. You can even test implicit biases against people’s weight.

See all the tests on Harvard’s website

We recommend people consider taking the racial bias or gender bias test. Regardless of which test you choose, they take about 5-10 minutes to complete.

Work to reduce your own implicit biases may never be complete

With the expert work of Bridgette Collins, Vantage Point has been conducting implicit bias training for health professionals, teams, businesses, and others online nationwide and in-person across Indiana. The stakes are high in many organizations seeking to reduce unconscious biases in hiring. But health care providers especially may face issues related to incorrect, unequal, or unfair treatment of patients. This causes additional health disparities among minority groups.

We call our training “illicit bias” because various forms of implicit bias may be unavoidable. Deeply ingrained norms, cultural influence, and personal experiences can be nearly impossible to overcome. In truth, regardless of gender, race, creed, or faith, everyone may have a snap, subconscious reaction to people of other groups. But it’s the illicit bias — what we can think of as pure racism, religious intolerance, homophobia, etc. — that we can train against.

Implicit bias training goes beyond “junk science”

Stanford University researchers note advertising and corporate marketing departments often study product placement against sub-groups, such as African Americans, and develop strategies to sell products and services accordingly. But they also note that most research has centered around unconscious bias that leads to discriminatory behaviors:

For example, imagine Frank, who explicitly believes that women and men are equally suited for careers outside the home. Despite his explicitly egalitarian belief, Frank might nevertheless behave in any number of biased ways, from distrusting feedback from female co-workers to hiring equally qualified men over women. Part of the reason for Frank’s discriminatory behavior might be an implicit gender bias.

There is little evidence any program can eliminate unconscious bias among even the most well-meaning adults. It is a universal behavior observed in nearly every human of every civilization and period. 

VPC’s Illicit Bias training helps organizations and healthcare providers reduce prejudice that leads to harm against others and the organization, which can be eliminated or reduced.

Other examples of implicit prejudice that leads to biased behavior

  • A team of doctors may miss the signs and symptoms of a heart attack in women because of gender stereotypes that create a sense of hypochondria. This is further exacerbated if the woman is non-white. The British Heart Foundation found the result is up to a 50% chance of wrong interventions in women than men.
  • Data consistently shows white Americans routinely associate black faces with crime, a problem that has a significant impact on law enforcement officers and police departments.
  • A small team working on a project discovers their supervisor holds significantly different political views than the rest of the group. This knowledge leads to a fractured, distrustful team rife with subtle discrimination and a lack of communication.

You can counteract all of these examples with smart, systematic strategies. Well-trained staff, HR departments, and systems for checks, balances, and appeals can counteract any one person’s own biases, thinking, stereotypes, and attitudes.

They can not, however, be fixed with the usual company diversity programs. Hiring additional people from diverse backgrounds — including racial, educational, and socio-economic — can reduce or eliminate bias. But an NIH study shows the three most common programs (diversity training, job tests, and grievance programs) are the least effective:

The three most popular interventions make firms less diverse, not more, because managers resist strong-arming. For instance, testing job applicants hurts women and minorities- but not because they perform poorly. Hiring managers don’t always test everyone (white men often get a pass) and don’t interpret results consistently.

Instead, the researchers note that voluntary training has the biggest impact on completion and inclusion, with the highest results among men. They write, “Companies do a better job of increasing diversity when they forgo the control tactics and frame their efforts more positively. The most effective programs spark engagement, increase contact among different groups, or draw on people’s strong desire to look good to others.”

Start your team’s implicit bias training programs

If you’re ready to get your team started on voluntary illicit bias training that helps participants recognize, react, and reduce bias, request training today. VPC’s implicit/illicit bias training programs can be delivered online or in person at your location.

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