The DEI Podcast with Max Gaston Season 2 Episode 1: Breaking the Unconscious Bias Habit

Author: Jonathan Bailey

Dei Podcast Season 2 Episode 1

According to research, bias is a habit that begins to take shape at an early age. As we form our own social identities surrounding things like ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, religion, and gender, we start to identify as members of a specific group of people. These identities in many ways can shape how we see and treat others — and how others see and treat us.

At the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Dr. William Cox, Dr. Patricia Devine, and their colleagues developed the bias habit-breaking intervention, an evidence-based approach which builds on more than 30 years of scientific research on prejudice, stereotyping, and bias, and has been proven to reduce bias in people’s attitudes and behavior long-term. Dr. Cox is the Principal Investigator of the Stereotyping and Bias Research (SABR) Lab in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and the founder of Inequity Agents of Change, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to reducing bias, creating inclusion, and promoting equity. In this conversation,

In the season two premiere of the DEI Podcast with Max Gaston, Dr. Cox explains how bias impacts the mind. He then provides proven strategies for reducing bias, and identifies common approaches such as color-blindness that people often take to address bias that often create more bias rather than less.

Topics covered with timestamps:

2:44 – Why a scientific, evidence-based approach is the best method for reducing bias.

7:29 – The origins of “bias as a habit” and a summary of the bias habit-breaking intervention model.

13:30 – How stereotypes can create and guide our expectations about others.

17:13 – People in society are often penalized if they violate the stereotypes we hold for them.

20:04 – Once a stereotype is a habit of mind, even if we experience that it’s wrong 75% of the time, confirmation bias causes us to give more credit to our stereotype than to the contrary evidence.

28:44 – Perspective taking as a strategy for reducing bias.

36:18 – How untested assumptions can reinforce stereotypes and cause them to self-perpetuate.

38:57 – Stereotype replacement as a strategy for reducing bias.

42:20 – Considering situational explanations as a strategy for reducing bias.

46:14 – Broadening your media input as a strategy for reducing bias.

51:23 – Colorblindness, ignoring group status, believing in personal objectivity, and stereotype suppression fail as approaches to reduce bias and create more bias rather than less.

57:03 – The importance of speaking up when you see bias occurring.

1:00 – Proven results and findings in attitude and behavior change caused by the science-based habit breaking intervention approach for bias reduction.

Find the full list of DEI Podcast episodes at and wherever you listen to podcasts.