We may think we’re fair and all-inclusive, but our brains operate surreptitiously, sending us intuitive messages that influence our speech, our decisions and our behavior… and if you’re a content marketer, it will permeate the content you write!
Don’t believe me? Or, maybe you believe me and are saying “So what?” You need to know how your customers and clients see your biases showing up. Your biases are reflected in everything you do, including your content marketing.
If you’re creating content that markets a product or service, how can you become aware of your prejudices, since they lie hidden in our subconscious brains?
Here are a few things they’ve discovered after hundreds of thousands of web visitors did their tests:
Findings observed in seven years of operation of the Project Implicit web site
- Implicit biases are pervasive. They appear as statistically “large” effects that are often shown by majorities of samples of Americans. Over 80% of web respondents show negativity toward the elderly compared to the young; 75-80% of self-identified Whites and Asians show a preference for racial White relative to Black.
- People are often unaware of their biases. Ordinary people, including the researchers who direct this project, are found to harbor negative associations in relation to various social groups (i.e., implicit biases) even while honestly (the researchers believe) reporting that they regard themselves as lacking these biases.
- Implicit biases predict behavior. From simple acts of friendliness and inclusion to more consequential acts such as the evaluation of work quality, those who are higher in bias have been shown to display greater discrimination. The published scientific evidence is rapidly accumulating. Over 200 published scientific investigations have made use of one or another version of the IAT.
- People differ in levels of bias. Biases vary from person to person – for example as a function of the person’s group memberships, the dominance of a person’s membership group in society, consciously held attitudes, and the level of bias existing in the immediate environment. This last observation makes clear that subconscious attitudes are modified by experience.
I took the test about preferences for old people vs young, and was surprised to learn that, even though I fall into the “old” category, I have a strong preference for young people. Not just a slight bias, that is, but a strong one.
Maybe it’s because I don’t look or feel old, or maybe I’m deluding myself. I don’t care. It’s great being young and delusional…