College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

The Dilemma with Our Biases

Visiting Philosophy Professor Discusses Our Biases Against De-Biasing

Alex Madva

If you knew a way to get rid of your biases, would you? Alexander Madva, who is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy, discussed the success of recent studies that help overcome our biases.

According to Madva, current research suggests that implicit prejudice and stereotyping can be reduced by interventions involving extensive training or counterconditioning, such as interactive video games and self-affirmation activities. However, even with this research and awareness, there is still criticism surrounding these de-biasing procedures. So the question remains, why are we biased against changing our stereotypes?

In his recent talk on campus, “Biased Against De-Biasing: On the Role of (Institutionally Sponsored) Self-Transformation in the Struggle Against Prejudice,” Madva further discusses the research and replies to these criticisms. He argues that a more inclusive strategy for combating prejudice and discrimination should be considered for training our biases away. “We need to find a way to replicate this in daily life,” says Madva.

Madva hopes to partner with sociologists and psychologists to get a broader perspective on the topic. Overall, Madva’s work centers on questions that are proposed in social psychology as they pertain to the philosophy of mind, philosophy of race and feminism, and applied ethics (especially prejudice and discrimination).

Written by Stephanie Salazar