What is Implicit Bias and How to Counteract It

Thursday 1:30pm-4:00pm Student Union: Mirage/Thunderbird
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Catherine Riihimaki, 2NDNATURE Software Inc.

Implicit bias describes when we have attitudes towards people or associate stereotypes with them without our conscious knowledge. Cognitive science research shows that everyone has implicit biases, sometimes in surprising ways, and that these biases affect how we understand situations, make decisions, and behave. Participants in this workshop will learn how to recognize their own implicit biases, discuss how those biases may impact their teaching and their other professional responsibilities, and develop strategies for ensuring that our classrooms, programs, and institutions are as inclusive as possible. Please bring a laptop or other internet-enabled device to access online materials and demos throughout the workshop.


  • Define implicit bias and discuss examples from participants' real-life experiences
  • Discuss the problems that can be caused by implicit bias in the classroom and beyond the classroom
  • Develop strategies for creating inclusive classrooms, programs, and institutions, and discuss whether there are metrics that should be tracked

Resources for This Workshop


Implicit Bias Presentation (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 32.5MB Mar5 18)

1:30 Welcome and Introductions

1:40 What is explicit bias? What is implicit bias?

  • Definitions [5 min]
  • In small groups, discuss examples from your own lives [15 min]
  • Explore resources at Project Implicit [15 min]
  • Discuss outcomes [10 min]

2:25 Discussion of problems caused by implicit bias

3:00 Discussion of strategies to make classrooms, programs, and institutions more inclusive

  • In small groups, read a recent Science Magazine article on implicit bias in publishing and funding, and then discuss strategies for addressing implicit bias across multiple scales of our professional lives. Include important metrics for monitoring implicit bias. [30 min]
  • Work on action plans [15 min]

3:45 End of Workshop Evaluation

4:00 Adjourn