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Crowdfunder: Quest to “de-bias” society with newly created de-biasing procedure

LatinaLista — Hollywood and “the media” have long been blamed for fostering a promotion of negative stereotypes. In turn, viewers who accept these versions of marginalized segments of the population may develop a bias against these groups, either consciously or subconsciously. One pair of scientists want to see if they can “de-bias” people.

Many studies in psychology and neuroscience that investigate prejudice, stereotyping and bias primarily focus on their effects. While this is very important, Adam Baker, a PhD student in the Laboratory for Affective and Developmental Neuroscience at Simon Fraser University, believes science is at a point in research where researchers cannot only look at the effects (i.e, effects of bias in the brain), but look at ways to decrease this neurobiologically and behaviorally.

His team is attempting to effectively ‘de-bias’ someone, and show this empirically. One group will be exposed to a ‘de-biasing’ procedure his team has created (confidential until published), and the other will be a control group. After this, both groups will complete an EEG task aimed to evoke biases towards a particular social group. Lastly, both groups will be required to complete a explicit bias measure.

This project has 2 primary goals. First, they aim to evoke biases in people with their EEG task, which is explained in the video with this post. And secondly, they hope to decrease an individuals bias (as seen in the EEG and behavioral results) by exposing them to a de-biasing procedure. This de-biasing procedure has been created by Baker’s team, and has never been created or attempted before.

In the end, he and his team plan on traveling around the world presenting their findings at conferences, eventually leading to a publication. They believe these results can have a significant impact on social neuroscience, and society as a whole.

According to Baker, “Many studies have attempted this, but there has yet to be a tested procedure to decrease implicit and explicit bias!”

The campaign’s goal is $1,250.00

Campaign: Can we ‘de-bias’ someone? A Neuroscientific approach to decreasing bias

(Featured Photo Explanation: The graphical poster created by Baker’s team was meant to capture how they view what is happening in the brain (electrically), when when people are faced with a “Biased” situation. Their past research successfully showed a marker, called the N400 ERP, is elicited significantly when people are stereotyping. This discovery will be used in their new study to determine if their de-biasing procedure is working.)

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