When evaluating people in the university context like students or applicants, we face various challenges when taking tenets like excellence as well as diversity seriously and acting accordingly. One important factor in the process of perceiving and evaluating individuals is how our brain can trick us with unconscious or implicit biases. For instance, the more we like people, the better we evaluate them or the likelier we hire them, if they are similar to us (similarity bias); a lot of information goes unrecognized (focus of attention), or stereotypes about social groups (women, men, professors, …) can distort the perception and the evaluation of an applicant’s performance record. Additionally, group dynamics and biases can impact team processes and the respective decision making (e.g., authority bias, conformity). In this talk, not only various examples of unconscious cognitive and group biases, as they can happen in the university context, are presented, but also strategies and how these biases can be reduced are offered and discussed.
Dr. Lisa K. Horvath