Impacts of implicit bias in STEM

Implicit biases are automatic, subconscious cognitive predispositions that silently impact our understanding, actions, and decisions in a wide range of contexts. Because these “mental shortcuts” arise naturally from our life experiences and cultural influences to help us efficiently navigate our worlds, all human beings have some forms of implicit bias (“favorable” or “unfavorable”) that research suggests may not match our explicit attitudes or beliefs. Left unexamined, these biases can impact our decision-making processes in ways that cause us to act against our own beliefs. For example, did you know that even women geoscientists write stronger letters for male candidates and were found to prefer equivalent job candidates with male names? This presentation invites participants to learn about the concept of implicit biases and the ways in which those biases operate. Several examples will be shared of how implicit biases have negatively impacted marginalized groups in STEM.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Blair Schneider

Dr. Blair Schneider is an associate researcher and science outreach manager for the Kansas Geological Survey. She is a co-PI for the NSF-funded ADVANCEGeo project, which is a project that takes a multi-level approach to transform workplace climate. Dr. Schneider is also a past-president of the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) and the 2019-2020 chair of the Women’s Network Committee for the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG). She has a PhD and M.S. in Geophysics from the University of Kansas and completed a postdoc in STEM Education at the University of Kansas Center for Teaching Excellence.