Lesson 1: Our Brains are Malleable

In this process of understanding what implicit bias is and getting to learn about our own biases, it is normal to start to feel like they are too deeply ingrained in our thoughts and actions to be able to combat their effects. However, as more research comes to light, we are able to find more and more ways to either lessen the effects of bias, or change the biases themselves. Although the latter is certainly a larger undertaking, it is very possible to do so. In the same way that our implicit biases were learned over time, we can disrupt this process with intention, attention and time.

This is because the neural connections between our associations get stronger as we take in more information that confirms our stereotypes or biases. By paying better attention to what we are exposed to and making the intentional choice to seek out experiences that go against our biases, we are able to disrupt this automatic chain of events, and those physical connection in our mind can be weakened. Two interventions we will be talking about later—mindfulness and intergroup contact, have shown the ability to not only stop the manifestation of these biases, but alter the implicit biases we possess.