Mindfulness Reduces Unconscious Bias — According to Latest Research

Andy Hab
2 min readMay 18, 2021
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I was interested to read in one of my favourite sources of knowledge, Nautilus, of a seemingly effective way to reduce cognitive biases and one that I have recommended over the years, albeit without this latest scientific backing. Simply put, being mindful reduced bias on 19 of 22 biases measured.

Jim Davies summarises it well by saying that

…cognitive bias can be reduced by encouraging people to pay closer perceptual attention to their environment…

In short, unconscious bias, also known as cognitive biases, are the group of automated decision tools our brain uses to make quick, but sometimes, or often, incorrect assumptions.

Legendary Ellen Langer, considered one of the founders of the Mindfulness movement, has recently conducted a study with Philip Maymin in which participants engaged in a series of tasks that increased their focus on, perceptual awareness of, their surroundings, and they showed decreased susceptibly to a range of cognitive biases.

Interesting is that the impact was over a range of cognitive biases, giving us the good news that this is a simple intervention that can work as a general intervention against our biases!

Paying attention and being mindful of yourself, and your environment, can therefore reduce cognitive bias, enabling better decision-making, and therefore, in theory, help make you “smarter”.

Review my post on the brain science of self-reflection here

Andy Hab

Sharing fascinating, fun, and important knowledge on the brain and human behaviour - most days. And masters track athlete - still going strong!