How to Outsmart Your Own Unconscious Bias | Valerie Alexander | TEDxPasadena

By Valerie Alexander | TEDxTalks

Human brains are designed to ensure our species' survival. It has one purpose: to keep you alive, and the amygdala is the part of your brain most responsible for that, as it triggers how you react in the event of danger.

Valerie Alexander, author, speaker, and CEO explains how our brains react instinctively to the unexpected.

When determining whether something is or is not a threat, our brains create a number of shortcuts. The perception of what constitutes a threat is shaped by many factors, including how we were raised, who we've encountered (or not), who lives in our neighborhood, and what the media portrays.

Simple example. If you are conducting interviews for a job, the only people who have ever held that role historically are white and male. If the person walking through the door isn't that, you might be delighted. However, because that moment was unexpected, your brain still had to adjust. This need to adjust is your unconscious bias.

A step below that is when you perceive something as not "normal" to you. It is just different from what you would expect and millions of years of evolution have caused our brains to respond to threats in a unique way.