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subconscious bias research

Subconscious bias is a term used to describe the automatic and unintentional attitudes or beliefs that individuals hold towards certain groups of people. These biases are often based on stereotypes and can lead to discriminatory behaviour, even when people do not intend to discriminate. 


Subconscious bias can be particularly harmful in the workplace, where it can lead to unfair hiring, unequal pay and limited opportunities for certain groups of people. It can also impact decision-making in other areas of life, such as education, healthcare, and the legal arena. 


To combat subconscious bias, individuals need to become aware of their own biases and work towards challenging them. This can involve seeking out diverse perspectives and experiences, actively questioning assumptions about others and being open to feedback from those who may have been impacted by biased behaviour. It is impossible and naive to assume that anyone is completely unbiased, as we tend to get our biases from our own lived experiences.

Ultimately, addressing subconscious bias requires a commitment to creating a more equitable society where everyone has equal access to opportunities and resources. By recognising our own biases and working towards change at both an individual and systemic level, we can create a more just world for all. It is this that I want to make people aware of in my art throughout this project. 

During my research about subconscious biases, I found some interesting quotes, facts or websites that I want to keep in mind when creating my exhibition... 

  1. How a person thinks can depend on their life experiences and sometimes they have beliefs and views about other people that might not be right or reasonable. This is known as 'unconscious bias' and includes when a person thinks: better of someone because they believe they're alike.

  2. What is unconscious bias? Unconscious (or implicit) bias is a term that describes the associations we hold, outside our conscious awareness and control. Unconscious bias affects everyone.

  3. 16 Unconscious Bias Examples and How to Avoid Them in the Workplace. The best way to reduce unconscious biases is to become aware of them. Start here with 16 examples of unconscious bias and tips to reduce them. 

  4. We tend to all have a subconscious bias to like what 'society' calls beautiful people. 

  5. With many companies transitioning from full time work-from-home patterns during the pandemic to hybrid working as people return to the office, we need to be mindful to avoid a two-tier workforce, where those without responsibilities that keep them at home and who are able to go into the office can build deeper relationships and advance their careers ahead of those working from home, who will more often than not be women.

  6. It is important to be mindful that employees who aren’t able to be as present in the office are given just as much opportunity as those who are able to be. This can be done through a ‘pre-thinking’ strategy where the desired action is planned ahead of time. For example, if a new project needs to be assigned to someone, the delegating manager can think to themselves “If I feel the impulse to give this project to those physically around me by default then I will stop myself and re-evaluate a more inclusive strategy to include and benefit those also not visible to me according to merit and performance”. 

  7. "Someone may assume that a person is capable or not capable of doing something based only on their judgement of that person’s external appearance. According to Imperial College London (2022), these judgements are an automatic brain response made within seconds of meeting a person and influence our attitudes and behaviours towards them. They can form what is known as unconscious bias – making an unfair judgement about a person that we are not consciously aware of, which affects our attitudes, behaviour and decisions about that person."

  8. "Their interpretation of the teacher’s perception of them affects how they feel about themselves".


- 16 unconscious bias examples and how to avoid them in the workplace (no date) Built In. Available at: (Accessed: March 14, 2023).


- If you have a brain you have a bias, but why? (no date) Robert Walters - Global Specialist Professional Recruitment. Available at: (Accessed: March 15, 2023).


- Improving equality, diversity and inclusion in your workplace (no date) Acas. Available at:,they%20believe%20they're%20alike (Accessed: March 14, 2023).

- The optimus blog (no date) Unconscious bias in the classroom and discreet disability | Optimus Education Blog. Available at: (Accessed: March 15, 2023).


- Unconscious bias (no date) Imperial College London. Available at: (Accessed: March 14, 2023).


hidden disabilities

I also want to make a note of some research I've done about subconscious biases concerning the sunflower lanyards used to indicate the wearer has a hidden disability. This scheme was implemented in 2016 at Gatwick Airport by designers, Tabbers Limited, collaborating with OCS (official cleaning services) Group UK, who provide support services to UK airports. 
But the scheme took an enormous jump in popularity and recognition during COVID (2020). It was used as a symbol during the re-opening of the country, and I personally have used my lanyard to not only help my anxieties about re-entering society but also to try and give a reason as to why I might be a bit slower, a bit more guarded or need more space than others might expect. 
I love the fact that it is not used as a sign of pity or assistance being required, but just as a hopeful understanding being received and given to others. 
Throughout my personal experiences, this has incredibly helped with some of my anxieties about being out in the world especially when I'm on my own.
These lanyards can disrupt people's subconscious biases or judgements against people with hidden disabilities or the Pygmalion Effect which is the phenomenon of people behaving or achieving in a way that confirms the expectations of others. 

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