Topic 2: Bias

Activity 1: Implicit bias

Implicit associations

A lot of how we see ourselves and others is influenced by bias. “Bias” means that we have a tendency to see something or someone in a specific way. For example, if you see women as “weak”, you may not treat them in an equal way. This can have positive consequences (maybe you help women sometimes) or negative consequences (maybe you don’t give women the chance to do the things they like or to show what they can do).

Harvard University has a department that studies this phenomenon and they developed a series of tests to measure bias – or “implicit associations” as they prefer to call them.

Do the test

Let’s do the Implicit Association Test on gender!

Go to;

click “I wish to proceed”;

choose the Gender-science IAT (Implicit Association test).

Note: there is also a Gender-career IAT. If you want, you can do that later.


What do you think about your results?

Did you score an automatic association for:

1.Male with science, Female with liberal arts

2.Female with science, Male with liberal arts

Was your score: a slight, moderate, strong association, or no preference?

Do you understand the score?

Does the score correspond with how you view yourself?


Activity 2: “I can’t operate” riddle

Why can the surgeon not operate?

A father and son are in a horrible car crash that kills the dad.

The son is rushed to the hospital; just as he’s about to go under the knife, the surgeon says:

“I can’t operate — that boy is my son!”