An implicit bias test is a tool that individuals have commonly used to determine biases. As our global consciousness increases regarding the role biases play in our daily lives, you need to consider implicit bias tests to assist your self-development and become an effective team member.
Here are five things you need to know about implicit bias test for self-development that will help you become a better team member:
1. What is implicit bias?
To understand what an implicit bias test reveals, we must first understand implicit (or unconscious) biases. Our brains are biologically hardwired to make quick associations to process information. Our ancestors relied on such decision-making to help them survive. However, if left unchecked, this has potential detriments in today’s complex society, especially when biases tap into incorrect and hurtful stereotypes. Implicit biases hinder our ability to work with others if not dealt with appropriately; at best, such tendencies disrupt communication and how we perceive team members. At worse, they severely compromise our relationships and networks with colleagues, peers, and superiors.
2. What is an implicit bias test?
As such, an implicit bias test is designed to reveal any biases in your thinking by putting you into a series of specific scenarios and asking a few questions based on those situations. The tests aim to measure the type of judgments you pass onto individuals with particular characteristics related to race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. The results highlight whether we perceive individuals of certain groups in a positive and negative light. These help us understand our prejudices and what to look out for when interacting with others.
3. How can an implicit bias test help you?
If not dealt with, bias hinders teams’ effectiveness. It becomes easy for us to dismiss the views and perspectives of others based on prejudiced factors. Unchecked implicit bias can hinder our interpersonal communication with others. Relationships dominated by perceptions rather than understanding may also strain our networks.
When it comes to teams with diverse cultural backgrounds, we should not dismiss people and ideas for irrational reasons. We can take advantage of various team members by tapping tap on different sets of skills and ideas to provide the best possible solutions. Taking an implicit bias test can highlight these mental blocks within us. Dealing with them helps develop our empathy, improve our thinking processes, and build better bonds with our team and peers.
4. What is an example of an implicit bias test
The most prevalent implicit bias test today is the Implicit Association Test (IAT) by Harvard University. First revealed in 1995, the IAT “measures the strength of associations between concepts (e.g., black people, gay people) and evaluations (e.g., good, bad) or stereotypes (e.g., athletic, clumsy).” (Project Implicit, n.d.) This implicit bias test has multiple categories relating to perceptions on weapons, weight, disability, religion, age, race, and more.
5. What are the limitations of an implicit bias test
Since we are biologically hardwired with biases, the implicit bias test shows that most people have certain preferences, even if they believe themselves to be relatively unprejudiced. Furthermore, individuals who take the same test a few weeks apart might report different test results. One journalist took the test three different times with results that indicated no bias, partial bias against one racial group, and then partial bias against the other racial group. As such, we can interpret the test as inconsistent at best and meaningless at worse.
Nonetheless, these tests may reveal potential biases that you may not have considered in your relationships with others. It is prudent to engage in self-reflection to see if you have any implicit biases of your own and strike at the root of the problem. Learning to manage biases will make you a more effective and empathetic member of your team.