From HBR: How Americans’ Biases Are Changing (or Not) Over Time


Excellent article from Charlesworth and Banaji.

“Our new research shows, for the first time, that the implicit attitudes of a society can and do change durably over time —although at different rates and in different directions depending on the issue. Drawing on data from over 4 million tests of explicit and implicit attitudes collected between 2007 and 2016, we found that Americans’ implicit attitudes about sexual orientation, race, and skin tone have all decreased meaningfully in bias over the past decade. We also found some areas (age, disability, and body weight) for which the news is not so positive.”

“In 1937 only 33% of Americans believed that a qualified woman could be president; in 2015, 92% endorsed the possibility. In 1958 only 4% of white Americans approved of black-white marriages; today 87% of white Americans do. These findings highlight the fact that our minds can and do change toward greater equality of opportunity. This is good news for business leaders, since greater diversity has many benefits for organizations. For example, it allows the best talent to emerge, makes teams smarter, and improves financial performance.”

Here at SunShower, we not only believe in change, we’ve seen the effect of our training programs that give people the tools to change. With the Ouch! programs and Defeating Unconscious Bias, we’ve seen and heard reports that there are positive changes that stick, long after the elearning course or workshop.

In fact, a study at the University of Cincinnati showed that 82% of Ouch! trainees had already used the Ouch! skills in their workplace interactions and personal lives within 3 months. It also documented that trainees had a statistically significant increase in awareness of bias and stereotypes and a lasting positive change in their comfort and confidence to speak up using Ouch! skills. The study showed that trainees were more likely in the future to speak up against stereotypes or bias they encountered at work, home and in social settings.

Joel Lesko