Research: Science & Perception

Recent research in psychology, neuroscience, and the social sciences has made huge strides in understanding how automatic processes in the brain shape our perceptions, our actions and our decision-making. Research also gives us insights into how we can override our biases to bring them more in line with our conscious values.

Here are some of the key concepts we study:

Identity differences are aspects of people such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, or class that result in our sorting ourselves and others into groups.

Explicit bias is an attitude or belief we have about a person or group on a conscious level.

Implicit bias (also called unconscious bias) is the brain’s automatic association of stereotypes or attitudes about particular groups, often without our conscious awareness.

Racial anxiety is the stress experienced before or during interracial interactions.

Stereotype threat occurs when a person is concerned that he or she will confirm a negative stereotype about their group.

Identity threat is the fear of loss of power for one’s own identity group.

Racial Paradox is when social outcomes do not match our values about racial equity.

Racial Polarization is the gap—at the community, institutional, and national level—in our understanding and explanation of racial difference, most often due to the association between our racial identity and our experience of race.

Systems Justification is the (often unconscious) motivation to bolster, defend, and justify the status quo—that is, the prevailing social, economic, and political systems.

Dehumanization is the denial of “humanness” to someone in another group–often by those with higher status, more power, or greater social connection.

Infrahumanization is the inability to see nuanced emotions in other groups, due to considering our own group as slightly more human than others. This leads to less empathy for those in other groups.

Confirmation Bias is the (often unconscious) evaluation of information or behavior based on existing stereotypes—we tend to see what confirms our beliefs and ignore what counters them.

Learn more by exploring these four core concepts: