Bias and Stereotyping

Biases are preferences or beliefs that keep you from being impartial. Stereotypes are oversimplified opinions or prejudiced attitudes about a group of people. They get in the way of your making decisions and solving problems reasonably and logically. Having a bias or believing a stereotype prevents you from having an open mind. In order to think critically and logically, you need to recognize your biases and control them, rather than letting them control the decisions you make. Biases and stereotypes should not be used to make a decision.

Here are two examples:

■ Bias—A town council member must vote on a proposal that will bring much-needed revenue to her small town, while also significantly reducing a good friend's property value. This friend supported the council member's run for office, and made a contribution to her campaign. The council member's bias is her feeling of loyalty toward her friend. If she makes a decision based on it, she will vote no on the proposal, which is not in the best interest of the town she was elected to serve. ■ Stereotyping—A study is done of a doctor's pain killer prescription writing habits. It is found that 75% of the prescriptions are written for male patients, even though his practice is 50% male and 50% female. When asked about this discrepancy, he reveals, "my female patients have a lower pain threshold. They should tolerate pain better, and stop relying on drugs." This doctor believes the stereotype that women are the "weaker sex." He thinks women tend toward hypochondria, and therefore their complaints of pain are not as valid as men's. The stereotype prevents him from making logical decisions, and from adequately caring for half of his practice.

Friendly Persuasion

Friendly Persuasion

To do this successfully you need to build a clear path of action by using tools if necessary. These tools would be facts, evidence and stories which you know they can relate to. Plus you always want to have their best interests at heart, in other words, you know what is good for them

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