Understanding unconscious bias

17 November 2015

This animation and briefing on unconscious bias adapted by Professor Uta Frith DBE FBA FMedSci FRS introduce the key concepts and current academic research around unconscious bias with the aim of alerting Royal Society selection and appointment panel members to potential biases that can arise when making judgments or decisions.  They form part of the Society’s efforts to ensure that all those who serve on selection panels are aware of differences in how candidates may present themselves, how to recognise bias in oneself and others, how to recognise inappropriate advocacy or unreasoned judgement. All panellists receive an electronic copy of the briefing in advance of any meeting, it is also read at the beginning of each meeting as a reminder.

The Society is concerned with excellent science wherever and by whomever it is done and is committed to increasing diversity in STEM by seeking out participation from underrepresented groups, in order to build and develop a world in which studying and working in science are open to all.  Addressing unconscious bias is one tool that the Royal Society is using to ensure that our funding, awards and appointments are drawn from the widest range of talent.

Further reading

Making better decisions in groups

Diversity in science

Implicit and unconscious, the bias in us all