Biases are quite a common occurrence at workplaces, and they can usually be determined by using an unconscious bias quiz. By establishing what those biases are, they may be addressed and eliminated.
Unconscious biases and prejudice may affect the group as a whole, unintentionally. They may prevent a potential employee from expressing their skills and attitudes to their full potential. This is why they need to be discovered early on by using unconscious bias tests.
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About Hidden Biases
Research has proven that biases we may have thought to be non-existent are actually still present in our heads. These stereotypes are not present consciously, but more in the form of "mental residue".
In other words, individuals may consciously think themselves fully committed to the egalitarianism cause, and take the steps to show prejudice-free behavior. Even with that, they can still possess negative stereotypes, biases, and emotions. They know the prejudice is wrong, but somewhere at the back of their mind, they still feel it.
A test was created as a collaboration, with rights reserved between the University of Washington, University of Virginia, and Harvard University. The test was called the "Implicit Association Test," and was part of the "Project Implicit" research measure.
Its purpose was to access automatic or hidden stereotypes, preventing conscious control within a group. It serves as an example for most diversity training programs addressing unconscious bias.
Is IAT Valid?
For years, the IAT (Implicit Association Test) was used as a way to measure the racial and unconscious bias of people at the workplace. That being said, while it does have its fair share of people who believe in it, it also has several people who question its reliability and psychometric validity.
With IAT, social psychology is used to measure the way a person associates different concept pairs. The theory is that if closely related elements feature the same response key, it should be much easier to make a selection. Created by researchers from Harvard University, the IAT was categorized as a method to predict human behavior.
In psychology, these measures are considered reliable and valid if their reliability is of at least 0.7 (preferably 0.8). With IAR, the test-retest score of reliability is around 0.5, meaning that it can be a concern for reliability. Several meta-analyses conducted from 2009 to 2015 suggest that IAT is a fairly weak detector of unconscious bias.
That being said, regardless of its validity, it is still deemed a very useful tool for getting insight into the user. It measures relative association strength, determining if the person holds favorableness towards one concept instead of the other.
Types of IAT Quizzes
Harvard University in collaboration with other universities has rights reserved for a variety of tests. These tests are often used as the primary way to detect unconscious biases at the workplace.
Depending on the case, people would have to choose between pictures and word associations. They will also have to choose between concepts and ideas as the test goes on.
Every unconscious bias quiz will determine whether they have an implicit bias in regards to a person or a situation. Here is what Harvard University tests you for:
This test focuses on the ability to recognize a photo of one president over the other. It determines presidential popularity bias.
Weapons IAT focuses on the ability to discern between black and white faces, along with images of harmless objects and weapons.
This IAT aims to distinguish between faces, categorizing between those who are thin and those who are obese. The test uses keyboard commands, pictures, and word categorization to determine whether someone has a weight bias or not.
This test aims to distinguish between photos of cisgender and transgender celebrities. It aims to determine whether people hold stereotypes or have an unconscious bias around transgender individuals.
Gender - Science
This test aims to detect a relative link or bias between males and science along with females and arts.
Gender - Career
This unconscious bias test reveals whether there is a link or an implicit bias between males and careers, and between females and family.
With this IAT, the attempt is to distinguish between faces of people of African origin and those of European origin. It means to indicate that most people have a preference for white people over black people.
The quiz aims to recognize symbols that represent disabled or abled individuals. its purpose is to determine whether people have a preference towards abled individuals at the workplace.
With this IAT, the purpose is to choose between Asian-American and White faces, recognizing them. It also shows images of different places that can either be foreign or American in their origin. This will show whether the person has an Asian-American implicit bias or not.
With the religion IAT test, the one taking it will test their familiarity with different religions around the world, including terms and customs. This will help determine whether a person has an unconscious bias or holds stereotypes towards a certain type of religion.
This test focuses on the ability to recognize different types of skin tones from the pictures. It automatically shows whether people have an unconscious preference towards individuals who have a certain skin color or not.
Arab - Muslim
Rather than focusing on faces as most IATs do, the Arab-Muslim IAT distinguishes between names. These names will belong to people of Arab-Muslim origin and will be placed against people of other religions or nationalities.
The Age IAT quiz aims to distinguish between old faces versus younger ones. This one will usually determine whether there is an age bias, with Americans indicating that they prefer younger faces over older ones.
This IAT will distinguish between words and symbols that represent straight or gay people. Its purpose is to determine whether there is a preference for straight people in comparison to gay individuals.
Test for Unconscious Bias
The IAT, through its association with words and pictures, is often more efficient at determining whether someone has an unconscious bias or not. Harvard University has the rights reserved for the answers and the way the quiz is delivered.
However, an implicit bias test may take many forms, and the way it is answered may determine whether unconscious bias is involved or not. The actions may be small and look insignificant to some people, but it will suggest that there is indeed implicit bias involved.
Here are some examples that commonly appear in an unconscious bias quiz:
**1. Two CVs are sent for the position of laboratory manager. Both Individuals are white and 22 years of age, with identical grades and similar experiences and references. One is male and one is female. Who is likelier to get the position?
According to IAT test results, the male applicant was more likely to be hired, even though their skills and references were similar. For there to be no project implicit gender bias, both should have the same chances to be hired.
2. Two individuals show up for an interview, both with similar sets of skills and qualifications. One of the interviewed people has the same hobby for hiking as the recruiter. Who is more likely to be hired?
In a place where unconscious bias takes place, the person to be hired will likely be the one with the same affinities as the recruiter. This is often referred to as affinity bias.
3. A series of resumes from White-American and African-American people come into a company whose majority of workers are White-American. The recruiter is also White-American. Which resumes are more likely to be chosen for an interview.
In ideal circumstances, where implicit biases are not an issue, both categories of people have the same chances of getting an interview. However, based on the Race IAT and their collaboration with the University of Washington, the chances are higher for White-American individuals to get the job.
4. A number of people within a company are competing for the post of CEO. All have the same skills and requirements, the only difference being in their height. Who has a better chance to get the CEO position?
In an ideal world where implicit bias is not an issue, everyone would have the same chance. However, according to Project Implicit test results, taller people have more chances to be chosen as CEO.
This belief is further strengthened by the fact that while tall people make up only 14.5% of the American population, around 60% of the CEOs from Fortune 500 companies are more than 6 feet tall.
5. During salary negotiations, two people with the same skills on their CV are trying for a higher salary. The only difference between them is the fact that one is more socially beautiful than the other. Who is more likely to get a raise?
Once more, to avoid any unconscious bias, everyone would have the same chances to get the same salary raise. However, in "Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful" written by Daniel Hamish, it was proven that an attractive person usually obtains a salary that is 10-15% higher in comparison to an average-looking individual.
6. An individual at work is often placed under the stereotype of "lazy person" for working flexible hours or working from home, even if they do indeed get their work done. Is it likely for unconscious bias to form in these situations?
Nowadays, for someone to be perceived as a hard-working person, it was ingrained in our minds that the person needs to commit to traditional hours at the workplace. In most circumstances, implicit bias should not occur, as long as the person does the job that he/she is supposed to do.
7. A new mother returns to the workplace, and the company spares her stressful business trips overseas in order to make her first year as a working mom easier. May these situations be seen as implicit biases?
In this case, the implicit bias involved is called "benevolence bias." In these circumstances, new mothers may be discontinued from overseas attendance, due to a variety of assumptions about being a new mother. While this is unconsciously done as a way to remove added stress, these stereotypes may ultimately affect her career.
8. Two individuals with the same skill set, attitudes, and experience are applying for the post of research manager. The only difference between the two is that one individual has an Anglo-sounding name, whereas the other has a non-Anglo-sounding name. Is this an example of implicit bias?
In an environment where unconscious biases are not an issue, both individuals would have the same chance of getting the job. However, studies show that those with white-sounding names have a higher chance to get a job compared to a non-white sounding-name.
9. Several individuals with the same qualifications and attitudes are applying for a high-ranking job. The hiring manager sees that one individual went to a prestigious school, and immediately assumes they will excel at the job. They end up hiring that person. Can this be seen as an example of implicit bias behavior?
This example is often referred to as the "halo effect," and is part of the implicit biases category. For these stereotypes to not affect the workplace, everyone should have the same chance, regardless of their place of education.
The university that someone went to is not determinant of their attitudes and competency. Someone that went to a public school may know more than someone who studied at a private school. In this situation, the focus is on a positive trait that may ultimately affect the group or company.
10. A person aged 47 applies for a promotion along with a few other younger colleagues. The aged person has more experience and seniority but was denied the promotion in favor of a younger individual who had a lower skill set. Can this be seen as prejudice?
This is an example of something referred to as gracious. It happens when companies prefer to hire "younger minds," even if they know the older group has more experience. The biases and prejudice come from the belief that their age may prevent them from performing properly, even if that is not the case.
11. A group of individuals, men and women, with the same attitudes, responsibilities, and skills, are gunning for a raise for the same job. The men are believed to have more skills (although the resumes say otherwise), so they get higher pay. Can this be seen as biased behavior?
In an ideal world, employees should have the same paycheck amount regardless of their gender. However, this is an example of gender bias, where one gender is favored over the other.
This type of bias can affect relationship dynamics and recruitment practices within the company. With that in mind, it is also a common type of prejudice, as research shows there is an average 18% gap between the salaries of men and women. This applies even if they possess the same skills and experiences on the job.
The Bottom Line
Unconscious biases can happen in any company. And while they may not be helped, biases can be tackled in the workplace and controlled. The company just needs to test for those biased behaviors, so that they may address them.