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Affinity bias

Affinity bias is the unconscious tendency to get along with others who are like us. It is easy to socialize and spend time with others who are not different. It requires more effort to bridge differences when diversity is present.

Please view this 13 minute TEDX talk by Helen Turnbull on affinity bias.

If you are unable to view this video, as is the case in some parts of the world, here is a quick summary. We request you use this summary to respond to the following three questions that viewers of the video will answer.

Brief summary: Helen Turnbull shares an example of her own affinity bias when she notices the pilot of her commercial aircraft is a female. She expected her pilot to be an experienced male. Imagine that - because she works in the field of human resources and unconscious biases, yet realizes she expects her pilot to be a mature, tall, male with a few grey hairs and perhaps ex-military. She discusses how we easily want to be around people like us. Helen shares how we are not always as naturally inclusive as we we want to be. Perhaps we are more easily irritated by people different from us. She discusses biases over language, appearance, height, weight, and gender. These are blindspots to us. So what is your blindspot? Who do you exclude perhaps unknowingly?

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

You can also click on the link below.

Following viewing this video, please reflect on these three questions:

  1. How do you feel after watching the video?
  2. What did you learn from what Helen Turnbull shared about affinity bias?
  3. How does this learning relate to the real world?

Please click on the comment button and share your responses to these three questions. Please list your responses in order by #1, 2, and 3. Next, respond to the reflections or comments of two to three other learners.

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Diversity and Inclusion

Purdue University