Only fifty percent will alter a strongly held opinion. Why? Unyielding? Tenacious? Rigid? Unconscious Bias?

Neurological Patterns

The Enigma of Unconscious Bias: A Speculation

SSRN: Number of pages: 19 Posted: 07 Jan 2019
Patricia Salgado
Fielding Graduate University: Institute for Social Innovation


Following a brief review of recent clinical studies of memory formation and retention, I build an argument that bias is a biological function, a competency manifested in all humans – a survival and evolutionary tool. The argument requires searching through new cognitive evidence made possible by technological advances and new research in memory building and memory retention.

Secondly, to understand how this mechanism operates, I look for a link between bias and survival. My argument is that bias is a structural form, a biologically developed function, and an adaptation much like walking or vision. While the content of bias changes according to the authority and influence of the existing culture, the bias mechanism in its genesis is a biological tool and not a psychological state.

Moving to parallel research into the unique facility of musicality will illustrate the biological function or mechanism I refer to as biological bias. Finally, from the collaborative research of cognitive scientists and evolutionary psychologists, I examine the role of culture in light of new clinical data and interpretations of how we humans reason, how we learn and how we often deny information that is in our best interest. Establishing solutions to overcome these preferences is difficult, but collectively these studies provide insight into why and how unconscious bias is a “hard nut to crack”.

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