Presented by Alison Feit, PhD
“Unconscious biases have always dogged us, but multiple factors made them especially dangerous today. Globalization and technology, and the intersecting faultlines of religious extremism, economic upheaval, demographic change, and mass migration have amplified the effects of hidden biases. Our mental errors once affected only ourselves and those in our vicinity. Today, they affect people in distant lands and generations yet unborn. The flapping butterfly that caused a hurricane halfway around the world was a theoretical construct; today, subtle biases in faraway minds produce real storms in our lives.” Shankar Vedantam
Ever wonder if we could live in a more just society, gender, race and all such divisions put to the society? Does it seem confusing that with so many well-intentioned people across so many decades, we are still struggling to treat one another fairly and justly. A whole host of psychoanalytic, psychological and cognitive neuroscience research has showing us that the way to reduce bias is not to make people feel guilty about what they cannot control, rather, its actually to enable emotional and intellectual tools for self-examination. Much of what Freud told us more than a century ago, about our tendency to have thoughts and feelings we know little about has been verified by cognitive neuroscience.
Week 1. Implicit Bias- If I am unconsciously biased, why the heck would I want to know if there is nothing I can do about it? The place of ‘institutionalized guilt’ and its ineffectiveness in enacting real change. What can motivate us to know things that may be unpleasant about ourselves. // Week 2. Unconscious Activity- Freud redux. What did Freud tell us about the unconscious and how it works? Why was there so much resistance to the idea that we do not have access to many of our thoughts and feelings? What are its implications for implicit bias today? // Week 3. A psychoanalytic view of unconscious racism. What is the difference between a cognitive bias and a defense? How do they impact our ability to stay neutral and fair, without our bias? How do our past associations and feelings make this difficult and what is there to do about them? // Week 4. Greenwald, Banaji, Bargh etc,,….What does the Social Psychological experimental data tell us about our own biases? What is the meaning of a ‘bias’ if it is something I don’t even know about? // Week 5. What does Cognitive Neuroscience (fMRI, PET scans etc….) tell us about how much control we do and don’t have over our unconscious/implicit thoughts and feelings. // Week 6. No more ‘blame game’ Real tools and ideas for living with more self-knowledge, less bias and becoming part of a growing community of individuals who want to use such self-knowledge to educate, learn and form meaningfully connected spaces.
Objectives: At the conclusion of this seminar, participants will be able to:
- Reflect on their personal and professional ‘in-group’ and ‘out-group’ assumptions. Report at least three facts about unconscious mental processes. Differentiate between ‘implicit’ and ‘explicit’ bias.
- Recognize the interpersonal and societal cost for unacknowledged bias. Identify a number of factors that might contribute to the development of individual prejudice.
- Understand the evolution of unconscious attributions in psychoanalytic theory. Describe the Freudian notion of unconscious activity and how it relates to a current understanding of implicit cognitive and affective processes.
- Describe two different psychoanalytic approaches to bias and how each theoretical model implies different strategies and goals for individual growth. Understand the development of ‘implicit bias’ through the lens of experimental social psychology.
- Describe prominent themes in the experience of those who experience ongoing micro-aggression. Identify three basic Neurodevelopment findings related to heterosexism, racism, or homophobia. Understand the psychological struggles of two prominent 20th century figures who experienced ongoing societal micro-aggressions.
- Differentiate between the notions of cognitive biases and psychoanalytic defenses.
- Describe the evolution of the first measures of timed, reaction-based bias testing and how these impacted the understanding of racism.
- Define the concept of ‘institutionalized guilt’ and its ineffectiveness in enacting real change. Identify possible means of lessening the impact of implicit bias. Describe current conceptual ideas for the development of communities with more self-knowledge and less institutionalized bias.
- Develop two motivational goals for reducing individual implicit prejudice. Understand the importance of ‘social priming’ as it relates to the development of a more just society.
Questions? Contact us at 314-361-7075 or email@example.com
Cancellations will be accepted up to one week prior to the first session. Make check payable and send to St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute 7700 Clayton Rd, Ste 200, St. Louis, MO 63117