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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

When Talking About Bias Backfires

By Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg
The New York Times - Sunday Review
Originally published December 6, 2014

Here is an excerpt:

Rather than merely informing managers that stereotypes persisted, they added that a “vast majority of people try to overcome their stereotypic preconceptions.” With this adjustment, discrimination vanished in their studies. After reading this message, managers were 28 percent more interested in working with the female candidate who negotiated assertively and judged her as 25 percent more likable.

When we communicate that a vast majority of people hold some biases, we need to make sure that we’re not legitimating prejudice. By reinforcing the idea that people want to conquer their biases and that there are benefits to doing so, we send a more effective message: Most people don’t want to discriminate, and you shouldn’t either.

The entire article is here.

Editor's note: Read the entire article and reflect on how this can influence the way in which psychologists communicate with patients.