Perception Institute is a consortium of researchers, advocates, and strategists that uses cutting-edge mind science to help organizations reduce discrimination linked to race, gender, and other identity differences. Working in sectors where bias has the most power to create harm—our schools, workplaces, hospitals, justice system, and media—we translate findings into interventions and workshops, customize research, and develop strategies to communicate across difference and disrupt the cycle of bias and harm.
We believe in solutions. The problem of discrimination is a complicated one—operating on both structural and individual levels—but failure and tragedy are not inevitable. If people believe the problem of discrimination is intractable, they are less likely to engage in action. We are dedicated to raising awareness of and applying empirically tested solutions to real-world challenges.
Our goal is conversation, not confrontation. Perception’s approach helps organizations achieve their goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion by applying the latest research and understanding of the mind sciences to everyday interactions at the individual and institutional levels.
We bring together organizational stakeholders and researchers to test solutions, bring them to scale, and build metrics for institutional accountability to encourage forward momentum. We are driven by a healthy optimism undergirded by the exciting empirical evidence that it is possible to override bias and navigate difference in ways that create better experiences and opportunities for all.
We offer tailored services related to reducing discrimination and harmful practices including:
Note: currently, all of Perception’s offerings are done virtually. Timing and format of affinity spaces and workshops are adapted to that context.
Many organizations are deeply committed to building a sense of belonging for all staff, and ensuring equity in their practice, but are falling short – and they don’t know why. Through rigorous data gathering – including approaches such as a Climate Survey, individual interviews, and focus groups – Perception’s team gathers relevant insights related to identity dynamics. The aim is to surface areas of strength and areas of opportunity, as well as to develop targeted recommendations for the organization moving forward. In this way, Perception provides a data-driven strategy to help organizations live out their values.
Internal and external challenges related to identity impact us in different ways, depending on our lived experience. Affinity spaces provide the opportunity for staff with shared identity to come together, process reactions to experiences, and examine useful strategies. For those in underrepresented groups, we offer tools to navigate diverse spaces and how to self-advocate. For those in dominant groups, we offer tools and resources to build accountability. By engaging staff across the institution, affinity spaces create a path toward collective action.
Connection Circles are structured to build community in workplace settings. Circles cultivate a brave space for discussion – specifically designed to balance autonomy, equality, and belonging, and to acknowledge shared values, which build authentic connections. Circles help surface the collective wisdom of a group, hold space for sharing our individual experiences, and encourage the practice of deep listening. In circles, participants share to be known and listen to know. In this way, the affective dimension of the human person is balanced with the cognitive dimension.
Drawing upon the latest research evidence, we create sector-specific workshops on the mind science of identity difference. The aim is to provide foundational understanding of unconscious challenges linked to identity and strategies to live our values of equity at an individual and institutional level. Our workshops range in length and are adaptable to audiences of all sizes.
Our core Mind Science workshops cover:
For groups with a foundational understanding of the science or who are looking for a more specialized focus, we also provide Specialized Workshops, such as those listed below:
Perception Institute offers expertise in original research, including study design, survey development, and data collection. Perception Institute works with partners to build upon the evidence base related to the operation of implicit bias, identity anxiety, and stereotype within specific contexts. We use findings to inform the development of targeted interventions that meet identified needs. For an example of original research conducted by Perception, visit www.goodhairstudy.com
Perception provides guidance to communications teams as well as other departments that manage external relationships. We provide these groups with best practices to reduce polarization and anxiety, particularly around race.
Samples of our research studies, evaluation reports, and toolkits can be found in our Publications Library.
Ready to request a collaboration? Click here to submit a request. We will respond to your request within seven days.
Perception Institute has presented on the mind sciences to a range of organizations, of various sizes. Our core sectors include:
Our partners include research institutes, foundations, and others working at the intersection of the mind science, identity differences, and/or cultural strategy for social change:
Ad Council – Love Has No Labels
Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education, University of Pennsylvania
The California Endowment
The California Wellness Foundation
Campaign for Black Male Achievement
Center for Policing Equity
Color of Change
Equal Justice Society
The Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color
Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society
Linked Fate Fund for Justice
Liz Manne Strategy
Moore + Associates
The Nathan Cummings Foundation
Open Society Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation