Becoming Aware of and Overcoming Bias

Article Archive

This is a list in progress, please submit additional helpful citations and/or links to the Associate Provost for Faculty Development Sunka Simon (ssimon1@swarthmore.edu).

  • Agathangelou, A. M., and L.H.M. Ling. “An Unten(ur)able Position: The Politics of Teaching for Women of Color in the U.S.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 4 (2002): 368-98.
  • Aguirre, A. “Women and Minority Faculty in the Academic Workplace: Recruitment, Retention, and Academic Culture.” ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports 27.6 (2000): 1-110.
  • Bertrand, M., & Mullainathan S.). “Employers’ Replies to Racial Names.” The American Economic Review 94.4 (2004):  991–1013.

Abstract:  Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination. This is an empirical study demonstrating the impact of implicit discrimination by race, and not attributable to class.

  • Bertrand, M., Chugh, D., & Mullainathan, D. “Implicit Discrimination.” American Economic Review 95.2 (2005):  94–98.

Abstract:  This article is a reflective discussion of how and where implicit discrimination operates. Includes useful review of the literature, and fairly extended discussion of research needed.

  • Biernat, M. & Kobrynowicz, D. “Gender- and Race-based Standards of Competence: Lower minimum standards but higher ability standards for devalued groups.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 72.3 (1997):  544–557.

Abstract:  Stereotypes may influence judgment via assimilation, such that individual group members are evaluated consistently with stereotypes, or via contrast, such that targets are displaced from the overall group expectation. T\vo models of judgment—the shifting standards model and status characteristics theory—provide some insight into predicting and interpreting these apparently contradictory effects. In 2 studies involving a simulated applicant-evaluation setting, we predicted and found that participants set lower minimum-competency standards, but higher ability standards, for female than for male and for Black than for White applicants. Thus, although it may be easier for low- than high status group members to meet (low) standards, these same people must work harder to prove that their performance is ability based.

  • Caffrey, M. Based on Goldin, C & Rouse, C. (Princeton Weekly Bulletin, 1997). “Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of “Blind“ Auditions on Female Musicians.” American Economic Review 90 (2000): 715–741.

Abstract:  A change in the audition procedures of symphony orchestras—adoption of “blind” auditions with a “screen” to conceal the candidate’s identity from the jury—provides a test for gender bias in hiring and advancement. Using data from actual auditions for 8 orchestras over the period when screens were introduced, the authors found that auditions with screens substantially increased the probability that women were advanced (within the orchestra) and that women were hired. These results parallel those found in many studies of the impact of blind review of journal article submissions.

  • Carnes, M. and Sheridan, J., "Gender Bias: How to Break the Habit." ASCB Newsletter September 2016. Accessed September 14, 2016.
  • Chenoweth, E., Fortna, P., Mitchel, S., Burcu, S., Weeks, J., & Cunningham, K., "How to Get Tenure (If You're a Woman)." ForeignPolicy.com Website. Accessed April 21, 2016.
  • Chesler, M. A. “Protecting the investment: Understanding and responding to resistance.” The Diversity Factor 4.3 (1996): 2–10.

Abstract:  This article discusses common barriers to successful implementation of diversity-related cultural change efforts, including both those that are intentional and unintentional. It also outlines strategies for addressing or dealing with these various forms of resistance.

  • Cole, J. R., & Singer, B. “A Theory of limited Differences: Explaining the Productivity Puzzle in Science.” In H. Zuckerman, J. R. Cole, and J. T. Bruer. Eds. The Outer Circle: Women in the Scientific Community. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1991.  277–310.

Abstract:  This chapter proposes “a theory of limited differences” where even if the life events to which people are exposed have small short-term effects, over the life course these events have large cumulative effects. The authors suggest that the small disparities at every stage of a woman scientist’s career combine to create a subtle yet virtually unassailable barrier to success.

  • Dovidio, J. F. and S. L. Gaertner. “Aversive Racism and Selection Decisions: 1989 and 1999.” Psychological Science 11.4 (2000): 315–319.

Abstract:  This study investigated differences over a 10-yr period in Whites’ self-reported racial prejudice and their bias in selection decisions involving Black and White candidates for employment in a sample of 194 undergraduates. The authors examined the hypothesis, derived from the aversive-racism framework, that although overt expressions of prejudice may decline significantly across time, subtle manifestations of bias may persist. Consistent with this hypothesis, self-reported prejudice was lower in 1998-1999 than it was in 1988–1989, and at both time periods, White participants did not discriminate against Black relative to White candidates when the candidates’ qualifications were clearly strong or weak, but they did discriminate when the appropriate decision was more ambiguous. Theoretical and practical implications are considered.

  • Dukes, R. L., and Gay, V. “The Effects of Gender, Status, and Effective Teaching on the Evaluation of College Instruction.” Teaching Sociology 17 (1989): 447-457.
  • Fiske, S. T. “What we know about bias and intergroup conflict, the problem of the century.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 11.4 (2002): 123–128.

Abstract:  This essay discusses what psychologists, after years of study, now know about intergroup bias and conflict. It is stated that most people reveal unconscious, subtle biases, which are relatively automatic, cool, indirect, ambiguous, and ambivalent. Subtle biases underlie ordinary discrimination: comfort with one’s own in-group, plus exclusion and avoidance of out-groups. Such biases result from internal conflict between cultural ideals and cultural biases. On the other hand, a small minority of people, extremists, do harbor blatant biases that are more conscious, hot, direct, and unambiguous. Blatant biases underlie aggression, including hate crimes. Such biases result from perceived intergroup conflict over economics and values, in a world perceived to be hierarchical and dangerous. Reduction of both subtle and blatant bias results from education, economic opportunity, and constructive intergroup contact.

  • Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. J. C., Glick, P., & Xu, J. “A Model of (often mixed) Stereotype Content: Competence and Warmth respectively follow from Status and Competition.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 82.6 (2002):  878–902.

Abstract:  This article presents results of research proceeding from the theoretical assumption that status is associated with high ratings of competence, while competition is related to low ratings of warmth. Included in the article are ratings of various ethnic and gender groups as a function of ratings of competence and warmth. These illustrate the average content of the stereotypes held about these groups in terms of the dimensions of competence and warmth, which are often key elements of evaluation.

  • Fries, C. J. and R. J. McNinch. “Signed Versus Unsigned Student Evaluations of Teaching: A Comparison.” Teaching Sociology 31 (2003): 333-344.
  • Georgi, Howard. “Is There an Unconscious Discrimination Against Women in Science?” APS News Online. College Park, Maryland: American Physical Society (2000). Accessed July 24, 2015.

Abstract:  This is an examination of the ways in which norms about what good scientists should be like are not neutral but masculine and work to disadvantage women.

  • Gause, C., Dennison, S. and Perrin, D. “Equity, Inclusiveness, and Diversifying the Faculty: Transforming the University in the 21st Century.” Quest 62. (2010): 61-75.

Abstract: This paper chronicles UNCG's journey to become a more inclusive community and present the universities' statement on diversity and inclusiveness, institutional profile, historical overview of processes taken for diversifying the faculty, and initiatives for creating a more inclusive campus. It provides data gathered from the Deans Council Subcommittee on Recruitment and Retention of Ethnic Minority Faculty, survey data from The Campus Unity Council and focus group data from The Inclusive Community Initiative Task Force.

Abstract:  This article explores why knowledge about stereotype prevalence might lead to greater stereotyping and what to do about it.

  • Heilman, M. E., Wallen, A. S., Fuchs, D., & Tamkins, M. M. “Penalties for Success: Reactions to Women who succeed at male gender-typed Tasks.” Journal of Applied Psychology 89.3 (2004): 416–427.

Abstract:  This study investigated reactions of subjects to a woman’s success in a male gender-typed job. The results showed that when women were acknowledged to have been successful, they were less liked and more personally derogated than equivalently successful men. The data also showed that being disliked can affect career outcome, both for performance evaluation and reward allocation.

  • Hendrix, Katherine G. “Student Perceptions of the Influence of Race on Professor Credibility.” Journal of Black Studies 28 (1998): 738-64.
  • Jones, B., Hang, E. and Bustamante, R. “African American Female Professors’ Strategies for Successful Attainment of Tenure and Promotion at predominately White Institutions: It can happen.” Education, Citizenship and Social Justice 10.2 (2015): 133-151.

Abstract:  In their pursuit of tenure and promotion, African American female faculty members continue to prevail over workplace adversities such as ridicule, marginalization, alienation, isolation, and lack of information. In this study, the lived experiences of five African American female professors who successfully navigated the tenure and promotion process at predominantly White institutions were explored through the lens of Black feminist thought and relational-cultural theory.

  • Katznelson, I. “When Affirmative Action was White.” Poverty and Race Research Action Council 15.2 (2006).

Abstract:  This article proposes that many federal programs can be best understood as “affirmative action for whites” both because in some cases substantial numbers of other groups were excluded from benefiting from them, or because the primary beneficiaries were whites. It states the rationale for contemporary affirmative action as “corrective action” for these exclusionary policies and programs.

  • Keith Witham, Lindsey E. Malcom-Piqueux, Alicia C. Dowd, and Estela Mara Bensimon. "America's Unmet Promise: The Imperative for Equity in Higher Education."  AAUP 2015.
  • Lam, Bourree. "When Resumes are Made 'Whiter' to Please Potential Employers." The Atlantic March 23, 2016. Accessed June 1, 2016.
  • Martell, R. F. “What mediates Gender Bias in Work Behavior Ratings? Sex Roles 35. 3/4 (1996): 153–169.

Abstract:  This paper shows that more effective work behaviors are retrospectively attributed to a fictitious male police officer than a fictitious female one—even though they are rated equivalently at first. Evidence in the study shows that this results from overvaluing male officers’ performance rather than derogatorily evaluating female officers’ performance.

Abstract: This blog entry discusses the subtle and not so subtle racial prejudices negotiated on a daily basis by faculty of color in the classroom.

Abstract:  Women in science tend to have partners who are also scientists. The same is not true for men. Thus many more women confront the “two-body problem” when searching for jobs. McNeil and Sher give a data overview for women in physics and suggest remedies to help institutions place dual career couples.

  • Mickelson, R. A., Oliver, M. L. “Making the Short List: Black Faculty Candidates and the Recruitment Process.” In Altbach, P., Lomotey, K. Eds. The Racial Crisis in American Higher Education. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1991.

Abstract:  Examines issues involved in recruitment of racial minorities to faculty positions, especially issues associated with the prestige of training institutions.

  • Nosek, B.A., Banaji, M.R., & Greenwald, A.G. “Harvesting Implicit Group Attitudes and Beliefs from a Demonstration Web Site.” Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice 6 (2002): 101–115.

Abstract: This article demonstrates widely shared schemas, particularly “implicit” or unconscious ones, about race, age and gender.

  • Padilla, R. V. and Chavez, R. C. “Introduction.” The Leaning Ivory Tower: Latino Professors in American Universities.  New York:  University of New York Press, 1995. 1–16.

Abstract:  This book includes 12 contributions from Latino and Latina professors and academics with experience in universities throughout the United States. The introduction provides an overview.

  • Pollack, Eileen. "Why Are There Still So Few Women In Science?" NYT October 3, 2013. Accessed April 21, 2016.

    Abstract: Eileen Pollack, one of the first women to get a degree in physics from Yale, is author of “The Only Woman in the Room.” Here’s a question for every woman who’s ever loved science but didn’t pursue it as a career: Why? Eileen Pollack has wrestled with that question for most of her life, and she tried to find the answer in her new book, “The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys’ Club.” Pollack spoke with Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti, originally on Radio Boston.

  • Porter, N. & Geis, F. L. “Women and Nonverbal Leadership Cues: When Seeing is not Believing.” In C. Mayo & N. Henley. Eds. Gender and Nonverbal Behavior.  New York: Springer Verlag, 1981.

Abstract:  When study participants were asked to identify the leader of the group, they reliably picked the person sitting at the head of the table whether the group was all-male, all-female, or mixed-sex with a male occupying the head; however, when the pictured group was mixed-sex and a woman was at the head of the table, both male and female observers chose a male sitting on the side of the table as the leader half of the time.

  • Preston, A. E. "Leaving Science: Occupational Exit from Scientific Careers." New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2004.

Abstract:  Based on data from a large national survey of nearly 1,700 people who received university degrees in the natural sciences or engineering and a subsequent in-depth follow-up survey, this book provides a comprehensive portrait of the career trajectories of men and women who have earned science degrees, and addresses the growing number of professionals leaving scientific careers. Preston presents a gendered analysis of the six factors contributing to occupational exit and the consequences of leaving science.

  • Sagaria, M. A. D. “An Exploratory Model of Filtering in Administrative Searches: Toward Counter-Hegemonic Discourses.” The Journal of Higher Education 73.6 (2002): 677–710.

Abstract:  This paper describes administrator search processes at a predominately white university in order to explore whether searches may be a cause for the limited success in diversifying administrative groups.

  • Smith, D. “How to diversify the faculty.” Academe 86.5 (2000). Washington, D.C: AAUP.

Abstract:  This essay enumerates hiring strategies that may disadvantage minority candidates or that might level the playing field.

  • Sommers, S. “On Racial Diversity and Group Decision Making: Identifying Multiple Effects of Racial Composition on Jury Deliberations.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 90.4 (2006): 597–612.

Abstract:  This research examines the multiple effects of racial diversity on group decision-making. Participants deliberated on the trial of a Black defendant as members of racially homogeneous or heterogeneous mock juries. Half of the groups were exposed to pretrial jury selection questions about racism and half were not. Deliberation analyses supported the prediction that diverse groups would exchange a wider range of information than all-White groups. This finding was not wholly attributable to the performance of Black participants, as Whites cited more case facts, made fewer errors, and were more amenable to discussion of racism when in diverse versus all-White groups. Even before discussion, Whites in diverse groups were more lenient toward the Black defendant, demonstrating that the effects of diversity do not occur solely through information exchange. The influence of jury selection questions extended previous findings that blatant racial issues at trial increase leniency toward a Black defendant.

Abstract:  This paper reviews empirical data to show that negative stereotypes about academic abilities of women and African Americans can hamper their achievement on standardized tests. A ‘stereotype threat’ is a situational threat in which members of these groups can fear being judged or treated stereotypically; for those who identify with the domain to which the stereotype is relevant, this predicament can be self-threatening and impair academic performance. Practices and policies that can reduce stereotype threats are discussed.

  • Steinpreis, R.E., Anders, K.A. & Ritzke, D. “The Impact of Gender on the Review of the Curricula Vitae of Job Applicants and Tenure Candidates: A National Empirical Study.” Sex Roles 41.7/8 (1999): 509–528.

Abstract:  The authors of this study submitted the same c.v. for consideration by academic psychologists, sometimes with a man’s name at the top, sometimes with a woman’s. In one comparison, applicants for an entry-level faculty position were evaluated. Both men and women were more likely to hire the “male” candidate than the “female” candidate, and rated his qualifications as higher, despite identical credentials. In contrast, men and women were equally likely to recommend tenure for the “male” and “female” candidates (and rated their qualifications equally), though there were signs that they were more tentative in their conclusions about the (identical) “female” candidates for tenure.

  • Taylor, Orlando et alii. Diversifying the Faculty. AACU Website. Accessed July 24, 2015.
  • Thompson, M. & Sekaquaptewa, D. “When being different is detrimental: Solo status and the performance of women and minorities.” Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy 2 (2002): 183–203.

Abstract:  This article spells out how the absence of “critical mass” can lead to negative performance outcomes for women and minorities. It addresses the impact on both the actor and the perceiver (evaluator).

  • Trix, F. & Psenka, C. “Exploring the Color of Glass: Letters of Recommendation for Female and Male Medical Faculty.” Discourse & Society 14.2 (2003): 191–220.

Abstract: This study compares over 300 letters of recommendation for successful candidates for medical school faculty position. Letters written for female applicants differed systematically from those written for male applicants in terms of length, in the percentages lacking basic features, in the percentages with “doubt raising” language, and in the frequency of mention of status terms. In addition, the most common possessive phrases for female and male applicants (“her teaching” and “his research”) reinforce gender schemas that emphasize women’s roles as teachers and students and men’s as researchers and professionals.

  • Valian, V. "Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women." Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998.

Abstract:  Valian presents research that demonstrates that men and women who do the same things are evaluated differently, with both men and women rating women’s performances lower than men’s, even when they are objectively identical.

  • Wenneras, C. & Wold, A. “Nepotism and Sexism in Peer-Review.” Nature 387 (1997):  341–343.

Abstract:  This Swedish study found that female applicants for postdoctoral fellowships from the Swedish Medical Research Council had to be 2.5 times more productive than their male counterparts in order to receive the same “competence” ratings from reviewers.

Abstract: The hands-on attention that many minority professors willingly provide is an unheralded linchpin in institutional efforts to create an inclusive learning environment and to keep students enrolled. That invisible labor reflects what has been described as cultural taxation: the pressure faculty members of color feel to serve as role models, mentors, even surrogate parents to minority students, and to meet every institutional need for ethnic representation.

  • Wolf Wendel, L. E., S. B. Twombly, et al. “Dual-Career Couples: Keeping them Together.” The Journal of Higher Education 71.3 (2000): 291–321.

Abstract: This paper addresses academic couples who face finding two positions that will permit both partners to live in the same geographic region, to address their professional goals, and to meet the day-today needs of running a household which, in many cases, includes caring for children or elderly parents.

  • Yoder, J. “2001 Division 35 Presidential Address: Context Matters: Understanding Tokenism Processes and Their Impact on Women’s Work.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 26 (2002).

Abstract:  Research on tokenism processes is reviewed and coalesces around gender constructs. Reducing negative tokenism outcomes, most notably unfavorable social atmosphere and disrupted colleagueship, can be done effectively only by taking gender status and stereotyping into consideration. These findings have applied implications for women’s full inclusion in male-dominated occupations.