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Reflect on One’s Cultural Lens

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Lesson 2, Topic 62
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Key Language Copy

When we breakdown the language of this Competency, we would like to focus on two specific words:



The word “Bias” is associated with “Implicit”.



The word “System” is associated with “Thinking”.

For the purposes of this competency and connecting to the workshop experience, we will associate “Implicit” with Bias and “Thinking” with System.


The term, Implicit Bias, was first coined back in 1995 by psychologists Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald, where they argued that social behavior is largely influenced by unconscious associations and judgments (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995). 

Excerpt from the book preface…

What are the hidden biases of this book title? They are, for lack of a better term, bits of knowledge about social groups. These bits of knowledge are stored in our brains because we encounter them so frequently in our cultural environments. Once logged in our minds, hidden biases can influence our behavior toward members of particular social groups, but we remain oblivious to their influence. In talking with others about hidden biases, we have discovered that most people find it unbelievable that their behavior can be guided by mental content by which they are unaware.

Blind Spot

In this book, we aim to make clear why many scientists, ourselves very much included, now recognized hidden bias blindspots as fully believable because of the sheer weight of scientific evidence that demands this conclusion. But convincing readers of this is no simple challenge. How can we show the existence of something in our own minds in which we remain completely unaware? 

Our overall thesis for this part of the learning journey is that educators are GOOD PEOPLE with GOOD INTENTIONS. This thesis is connected to the book, BLIND SPOT: Hidden Biases of Good People, which was written by Dr. Banaji and Dr. Greenwald in 2013.


Dr. Mahzarin R. Banaji

Psychologist, Harvard University

Dr. Banaji received her PhD from Ohio State University and was a postdoctoral fellow at University of Washington. She taught at Yale University for 15 years, receiving the Lex Hixon Prize for Teaching Excellence. She is currently Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics in the Department of Psychology at Harvard. She served as the first Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. At present, Banaji also serves as Cowan Chair in Human Social Dynamics at the Santa Fe Institute. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Diener Award for Outstanding Contributions to Social Psychology and is Herbert Simon Fellow of the Association for Social and Political Psychology.

Dr. Anthony Greenwald

Professor of Psychology, University of Washington

Dr. Greenwald received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his PhD from Harvard University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Educational Testing Service. For 20 years he taught at Ohio State University (where Mahzarin was his student) and is currently Professor of Psychology at University of Washington as well as Adjunct Professor of Marketing and International Business. Greenwald has received the Thomas M. Ostrom Award from the Person Memory Group, the Donald T. Campbell Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society for Experimental Social Psychology.


Kahneman (2011) distinguishes between two types of thinking: system 1 and system 2.


System 1 “is the brain’s fast, automatic, intuitive approach”. System 1 activity includes the innate mental activities that we are born with, such as a preparedness to perceive the world around us, recognize objects, orient attention, avoid losses – and fear spiders! Other mental activities become fast and automatic through prolonged practice.

Does not require working memory:
    • Autonomous
    • High Capacity
    • Parallel
    • Non-conscious
    • Biased Responses
    • Contextualized
    • Automatic
    • Associative
    • Experience-Based Decision Making
    • Independent of Cognitive Ability


System 2 is “the mind’s slower, analytical mode, where reason dominates”. Usually, system 2 activity is activated when we do something that does not come naturally and requires some sort of conscious mental exertion.

Requires Working Memory:
    • Cognitive Decoupling; Mental Simulation
    • Slow
    • Capacity Limited
    • Serial
    • Conscious
    • Normative Responses
    • Abstract
    • Controlled
    • Rule-Based
    • Consequential Decision Making
    • Correlated with Cognitive Ability

Reference – The Marketing Society: System 1 and System 2 Thinking


DR. Daniel Kahneman

Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology, Emeritus

Daniel Kahneman is Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs Emeritus at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton University, and a fellow of the Center for Rationality at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Dr. Kahneman has held the position of professor of psychology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1970-1978), the University of British Columbia (1978-1986), and the University of California, Berkeley (1986-1994). Dr. Kahneman is a member of the National Academy of Science, the Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and the Econometric Society. He has been the recipient of many awards, among them the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association (1982) and the Grawemeyer Prize (2002), both jointly with Amos Tversky, the Warren Medal of the Society of Experimental Psychologists (1995), the Hilgard Award for Career Contributions to General Psychology (1995), the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences (2002), the Lifetime Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association (2007), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2013). Dr. Kahneman holds honorary degrees from numerous Universities.