User guide

If you are here, you are likely seeking a guide to implicit bias education for yourself, a small group, or a large organization.

This user guide for Outsmarting Implicit Bias (OIB) will provide the following:

  1. General information about OIB education
  2. Assumptions underlying OIB education
  3. How to use the site

If you haven’t already, you may want to start by reading the About Page for a brief overview of what OIB is and why it was created.

1. General information about OIB education

What is implicit bias and why should we care about it?

Implicit bias is an umbrella term for the idea that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of which we may be unaware can influence our choices and decisions.

At OIB, we believe in using the evidence from social and behavioral sciences to understand and outsmart implicit bias. The data we will present may surprise and challenge you; however, we will not preach, we will not point fingers, and we will not require any idea or activity of you. In fact, if you are an organization, we strongly encourage you to make these materials available on a voluntary basis and to not mandate employees take them.

We built OIB with the following goals:

  1. Effectively present and update the science of implicit bias
  2. Teach about implicit bias in an accessible (and even fun!) way
  3. Show how implicit bias is relevant to all of us, regardless of group membership
  4. Focus on actions we can take, ideally at three levels: individual, institutional, and societal

2. Assumptions underlying OIB education

The following assumptions underlie OIB education. Your educational journey will be smoother and clearer if you understand and share these assumptions.

1. We believe that our everyday decisions and institutional practices ought to be in the service of advancing the stated mission of our enterprise. OIB education provides evidence of how behavior and practices can be inconsistent with a stated mission and ways to address the disconnect. This step is necessary but not sufficient for change.

2. Critical evidence from behavioral science, cognitive science, and neuroscience over the past 50 years has shown that humans don’t have full access to the contents of their minds; this unawareness is one source of error in our everyday decisions. OIB education offers a basic understanding of how our minds work.

3. To effect change requires practicing the knowledge that is acquired; such practice allows us to consciously (as individuals or as groups joined in a common cause) implement change. We are followers of a dictum of William James, the philosopher who said, “Thinking is for doing”.

4. Change is most likely to take effect if individual minds and institutional practices move in the same direction simultaneously. The individuals who make up an organization are critical in creating a culture shift. But change in individual thinking and values alone will do little to effect change unless institutions themselves are involved in changing policies and practices. As such, institutional level change is equally crucial.

3. How to use the site

module on OIB is a single piece of media content – a video, podcast episode, interactive demo, article, or action sheet. Each covers a single topic and can be consumed in one sitting (usually under 10 minutes).

These modules can be accessed in two ways: Browse Modules and Guided Learning.

Browse modules

A browser window showing the "Browse modules" section of Outsmarting Implicit Bias, featuring a grid of icons

In the Browse Modules section, you can freely explore the titles and icons that represent each module. There is no ‘right’ way to move through modules here; you can follow your own interests in the order you prefer.

To refine your browsing, use the dropdown menus at the top-right to filter by media type and categories like work process, social group, and profession.

If you are new to OIB, you may want to start here to get a sense of the content and style of OIB education.

You are free to use any and all modules after agreeing to our terms of use.

Guided learning

A browser window showing a "Guided Learning" unit in progress, featuring a video player and a "highlights" carousel

The Guided Learning section presents a subset of OIB modules in an ordered manner, separated into six separate units. We recommend moving through each unit in the order in which we have placed them.

Each unit consists of an introduction, a set of modules with highlights, knowledge questions, and a reflection section.

Guided Learning may be especially useful if you are an educator yourself or responsible for your organization’s education.