The vast majority of our brain activity is unconscious, and unfortunately, that means there’s a lot of room for forming stereotypes about different groups of people. Implicit bias awareness training in the workplace aims to address these biases and make sure they don’t negatively impact employees’ behaviors, but the truth is that there’s no concrete evidence showing whether or not this training actually works.
Most of the process of biases incorporating themselves into our brains happens automatically, and it can be difficult to notice when we start to make unfair associations. The Implicit Association Test, or IAT, attempts to measure human biases to better understand them, but as of now, it’s still unclear how accurate this test is.
If a person takes the IAT multiple times, they may receive wildly different results, meaning the test is not particularly reliable. The IAT also frequently fails to accurately predict the behaviors it aims to test.
While aiming to be less prejudiced towards others is a good goal, acknowledging one’s biases — as implicit bias awareness training aims to help employees do — doesn’t necessarily result in changed behavior. Effective training needs to not only help employees recognize their biases but also motivate them to act more respectfully.