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Diversity and Inclusion at Cosmic: Understanding Unconscious Bias

Here at Cosmic, we have Staff Working Groups that discuss key areas that will improve how we work, and the wider community as a result.

One of our Groups focuses on Diversity and Inclusion, and we want to share how this group has been exploring the nature of unconscious bias and its potential impact on behaviours.

We live in a world of stereotypes, which are widely held, but fixed and oversimplified images or ideas about a person or group. Our brains love associating stereotypes with certain people or groups, leading to unconscious bias.

Unconscious bias is essentially the process of your brain automatically categorising someone according to characteristics such as gender, height, religion, occupation, and so on. These biases can lead us to inaccurate perceptions and both positive and negative behaviours based on those perceptions. The difficulty in challenging these behaviours is that unconscious bias is exactly that – unconscious.

Last year at our Team Day, the Group shared activities with the Cosmic Team to show how the more self-aware a person is, the more likely they are to notice how their behaviour is affected by different people.

One of the activities played was the ‘Tag Game’.

To play the game:

On their upper bodies, players in this game carry a variety of badges in various hues, forms, and sizes. The group is then urged to divide into smaller groups.

Once the groups are established, tell the participants to split up and create new groups four to six more times. There is no talking, and no suggestions of how to form the groups, yet once the games are complete you will notice how people home in on certain colours, shapes, or sizes, to create their groups, rather than seeking out people with different badges.

We certainly encountered this with our activity! It’s a fascinating experiment and a good way of understanding how we all unconsciously attribute certain groups with certain characteristics.

If you’d like to know more about unconscious bias, and activities, check out the links below.

What Is Unconscious Bias? https://www.unconsciousbiasproject.org/resources/explain-unconscious-bias

Group Activities for Unconscious Bias: https://activitiesforgroups.com/group-activities-unconscious-bias/

Improving Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Workplace: https://www.acas.org.uk/improving-equality-diversity-and-inclusion/unconscious-bias

You can read more about Diversity & Inclusion at Cosmic with our post from National Inclusion Week 2022 here