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Implicit & Explicit Bias

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Impact of Bias

It is important to note that biases are not limited to ethnicity and race. Though racial bias and discrimination are well documented, biases may exist toward any social group. One’s age, gender, gender identity physical abilities, religion, sexual orientation, weight, and many other characteristics are subject to bias.

What is Implicit (Unconscious) Bias?

Implicit Bias, also known as Hidden or Unconscious Bias, are negative associations expressed automatically that people unknowingly hold and that affects our understanding, actions, and decisions.

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What is Explicit (Conscious) Bias?

“Explicit bias refers to the attitudes and beliefs we have about a person or group on a conscious level. Much of the time, these biases and their expression arise as the direct result of a perceived threat" (Perception Institute, 2020).

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Combating Bias

  • Learn as Much as Possible About Implicit & Explicit Biases…and Ways to Combat It
  • Tell Your Story…and Listen to the Stories of Others
  • Avoid Stereotypes and Over-Generalizations
  • Separate Feelings from Facts
  • Have a Diverse Group of People around the Decision-Making Table
  • Engage in Self- Reflection to Uncover Personal Biases
  • Develop Safe and Brave Spaces to Discuss Unconscious Bias
  • Be an Active Ally
  • Don’t Expect a Quick Fix
  • Practice Empathy

For more information, see our Mitigating Bias & Discrimination guide.


Perception Institute. (2015). Explicit bias