The Hidden Brain: How Ocean Currents Explain Our Unconscious Social Biases
by Maria Popova “Those who travel with the current will always feel they are good swimmers; those who swim against the current may never realize they are better swimmers than they imagine.” Biases often work in surreptitious ways — they sneak in through the backdoor of our conscience, our good-personhood, and our highest rational convictions, and lodge themselves between us and the world, between our imperfect humanity and our aspirational selves, between who we believe we are and how we behave. In the introduction, Vedantam contextualizes why this phenomenon isn’t new but bears greater urgency than ever: Unconscious biases have always dogged us, but multiple factors made them especially dangerous today. Underpinning his exploration isn’t a pointed finger but a compassionate understanding that our flaws make us not bad but human — and give us the opportunity to be better humans. One of the most pernicious and prevalent unconscious biases Vedantam explores has to do with gender.