Group Activity – Different Types of Biases

Group Activity – Different Types of Biases

Instructions: The facilitators will provide cards with the definitions of different types of biases and scenario cards that depict different types of bias situations. Participants analyze the scenarios in small groups and match them to their definitions. Provide time for this group activity and then have groups share their answers. Ask participants if they can think of any personal experiences where they’ve witnessed or been affected by similar biases.

Definitions for facilitators

  • Confirmation Bias: Refers to the tendency to search for or be partial to information that confirms or aligns with pre-existing beliefs and principles. For example, suppose you believe that a candidate is qualified for a position. In that case, you may notice or seek out further information that confirms this rather than looking for or recognizing information contrary to that belief. 
    • Example: if you believe that a candidate is qualified for a position, you may notice or seek out further information that confirms this rather than looking for or recognizing information contrary to that belief.


  • Affinity Bias: Affinity bias is defined as a person’s predisposition to gravitate toward those with whom they share a connection. This type of bias leads people to push away or block out those who are different.
    • Example: if you give someone a raise because of their connection to you, you disadvantage those who don’t have the same connection. Connections are not bad, but it is critical to recognize them and avoid affinity bias by not basing decisions on how you feel toward someone.


  • Gender Bias: Refers to unequal treatment of individuals based on their gender. Typically, this stems from an unconscious and inaccurate connection between a person’s ability and traditional views of their gender. On many occasions, females who are equally qualified for job positions are misjudged, and hiring managers favor men because they appear more qualified because of their gender.
    • Example: if you hire a male over a female because you favor men because they appear more qualified to you because of their gender. 


  • Similarity- Attraction Bias: Most people are likely to look positively at those who share something in common with themselves.
    • Example: a hiring manager is more likely to select a candidate that reminds them of themselves in some way (i.e., similar in appearance or disposition).


  • Appearance Bias: There are three appearance biases: beauty, height, and weight. Beauty bias is defined as evaluating people based on their physical appearance. 
    • Example: a supervisor offers a promotion to a tall, muscular male employee over a shorter, stout employee because she feels that taller individuals are better leaders and more authoritative. 


  • Name Bias: Both first and last names have connotations, stereotypes, and clichés attached to them. Name bias refers to interpreting something about an individual because of their name or reading into these connotations, stereotypes, or clichés. 
    • A hiring manager reviews several resumes and sets aside any with unique or traditionally American names. (Randall, para. 5-7, 12, 15, 18)

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