Implicit Bias


  • Author Bruce Wilson
  • Published June 9, 2022
  • Word count 512

Implicit Bias

Bruce Wilson, PhD

“A flawless delusion is more appealing to the human mind than a flawed reality.”- Abhijit Naskar

What is implicit bias?

Implicit bias is unconscious bias. This type of bias connects automatically beyond our awareness. Where does implicit bias come from? How is implicit bias reinforced? Are there specific strategies that psychologists can begin to implement that will alleviate one’s implicit bias?

“Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.”

Mahatma Gandhi


A starting point to understanding implicit bias is the concept of intolerance. When we are intolerant, we are demonstrating our narrow band of acceptance toward another’s ideas, actions, or being. This narrow band of acceptance operates at the expense of gathering more information. We are making judgements with insufficient knowledge. Our lack of awareness and unconscious bias is reinforced through repetition. Likeminded people can unite to manifest this implicit bias into stereotypes that become self-fulfilling.


Another salient component to implicit bias is one’s degree of insularity. Insularity surfaces in situations where we have a narrow view of others based on a lack of exposure or experience to their differences. Our judgements are again based on a lack of understanding or awareness. When insularity and intolerance align we have the “perfect storm” for implicit bias. The unconscious mind can now substantiate and obtain implicit bias confirmation. Once the mind has confirmation bias, the work to dismantle these automatic responses of implicit bias becomes even more difficult. A narrow view of implicit bias utilises both one’s intolerance and insularity as a protective shield to the potential of diversity. Diversity is seen as the threat to one’s sense of the status-quo.

“It’s not diversity that is going to destroy us, but fear of diversity.”

Federica Mogherini


Changing one’s implicit bias requires broadening one’s perspective, which will have an immediate influence on both intolerance and insularity. Acceptance of others diverse views while exploring unknown avenues of experience will enhance both awareness and empathy. Diversity allows for inclusion without any loss of independence. The synergy created is more cooperative and less competitive. Judgement is replaced with acceptance. Fresh ideas can lead to more creative solutions and innovation. As diversity and understanding increases, the triggers to intolerance are decreased. The compulsive need to be insular diminishes.

Conscious Replaces Unconscious

Decreasing implicit bias allows the conscious mind to be free and replace the unconscious mind more often. Automatic unreasoned thoughts and reactions have more holidays. Reflection has the opportunity to displace reflex. We are now empowered to expand our narrow perspective. Intolerance and insularity are no longer needed or valued. Displacing automatic reflexive reactions requires a higher level of self-observational skills. The unconscious mind consists of reactions to our self-story, which have been influenced by our historical recollections. Much of our self-story is inaccurate due to our lack of self-observational skills. Transitioning from our self-story to our more accurate self-observations will ensure that our consciousness level is elevated, which has the capacity to promote rather than hinder our personal growth.


Dr. Bruce Wilson is a psychologist with 25 years of experience. He enjoys sharing his ramblings with friends and colleagues. He is currently in private practice at Mind Health Care in Geelong, Australia. This article is solely his work.

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