Faculty Colloquium: Jim Friedrich

Please join us on Friday, November 15th, at 3 p.m. in Ford 102 for our seventh Faculty Colloquium of this semester.

Presenter: Jim Friedrich, Professor of Psychology Jim Friedrich

Title: “Removing Bias From Our Judgments: Did Ulysses Have It Right?”

Abstract: A great deal of behavioral science research has documented the various ways in which human judgment can be contaminated — influenced or distorted by factors that decision-makers prefer would not have an impact on their perceptions and choices. For example, people might agree that the physical appearance of a job applicant should not impact their hiring decision and might wish to avoid or correct any such influence. Unfortunately, this same body of research suggests that avoiding and correcting for bias can be extremely difficult and that simple awareness of one’s own vulnerability and good intentions are insufficient. Ulysses famously had his crew tie him to the mast of his ship so that he would not be seduced by the siren’s songs. Recent research conducted with and by Willamette University students suggests that we see such bias-preventing “binding strategies” as helpful for others but less necessary for oneself — a manifestation of what is sometimes referred to as the bias blind spot effect. In this talk, I will be discussing why self-correction of one’s biases is so difficult, why “binding strategies” that limit exposure to certain influences might be most effective, and why people nevertheless underestimate their vulnerability to bias and their need to engage in such protective strategies.

Students are welcome and coffee and treats will be provided. We look forward to seeing you there.

Bill Kelm and Stephen Patterson
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators