Perception Institute inspires people to live their values.
Most Americans believe in racial and gender equality and reject discrimination in any form. Yet, stereotypes embedded in our brains, shaped over time by history and culture, can lead us to view the world through a biased lens and behave contrary to our deeply held egalitarian values.
Our brains like to be right. Our hearts strive to be good. The very experience of identity differences, however, can send these basic human impulses atwitter. Biased behavior often leads to discrimination. Anxiety—the fear that biases exist and may be revealed, or that someone else’s biases may invalidate our life experiences—leads to cognitive shutdown instead of conversation.
Perception Institute engages in and translates the best mind science research on identity differences into solutions that can be applied to everyday individual and institutional interactions. We design research, workshops, and cultural products that advocate for systemic and societal remedies to discrimination.
We recognize areas in our lives where bias based on identity differences has the most power to create harm or affect opportunity—our schools, our jobs, our hospitals, our justice system—and we design specific interventions to mitigate discriminatory effects.
We work with institutional stakeholders who bring a strong commitment to change, who value innovation, and who can help us test solutions and bring them to scale, thereby transforming the lives of those most affected faster and more efficiently. We bring our tested solutions back to practitioners and policy makers.
Our goal is conversation, not confrontation. We use our research to make communications among our social justice and cultural partners more effective, helping them tell stories that are maximally inclusive and extend bridges to potential allies. With these steps, Perception Institute works toward a world that is free from discrimination and other harms linked to cultural and social identity differences.