The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, an interdisciplinary research institute at The Ohio State University, has partnered with MTV and a coalition of organizations dedicated to social justice to develop “Look Different”, a multi-year campaign that launched last week, aimed at empowering young adults to better counter hidden racial, gender and anti-LGBT biases.

Recognizing the complex nature of bias, Look Different explores the influence of both explicit and implicit biases. Implicit biases, also known as unconscious biases, are attitudes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. As the author of the nation’s only annual publication reporting the latest findings in implicit bias research, State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review, the Kirwan Institute has been deeply engaged in efforts to educate communities on the causes and impacts of unconscious bias as a powerful explanation for the persistence of many societal inequities in domains such as housing, education, criminal justice, employment & health. Recognizing the Kirwan Institute’s implicit bias expertise, the MTV team sought to partner with the Kirwan Institute to help shape their campaign efforts.

Aimed at the millennial generation, Look Different will leverage on-air programming, social media outreach, innovative digital tools, celebrity engagement and other initiatives to help their audience better recognize and respond to bias. Assisting with part of the campaign’s emphasis on debiasing, the Kirwan Institute helped MTV to develop a seven day “Racial Bias Cleanse”, a debiasing regimen that delivers scientifically-grounded daily exercises to help people to begin to unlearn the unjust biases that have accumulated over time.

“The Kirwan Institute is pleased to partner with MTV in their multifaceted effort to teach the next generation of leaders about the dynamics of bias, particularly the ways in which we can begin to counter the pervasive implicit biases that subtly shape our perceptions of others,” stated Kirwan Research Associate and Implicit Bias Review author Cheryl Staats.

The Kirwan Institute will support the campaign through social media promotion, including links to the website & upcoming programming. For more information about Look Different, follow @KirwanInstitute and @LookDifferent on Twitter or search the hashtag, #lookdifferent. To learn more about implicit bias, visit to download the Implicit Bias Review reports & related publications.


MTV is the world’s premier youth entertainment brand. With a global reach of more than a half-billion households, MTV is the cultural home of the millennial generation, music fans and artists, and a pioneer in creating innovative programming for young people. MTV reflects and creates pop culture with its award-winning content built around compelling storytelling, music discovery, and activism across TV, online and mobile. For more information, go to