What Is Explicit Bias? | Definition & Examples

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Explicit bias is a conscious and intentional form of prejudice that people hold against certain groups of individuals based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics. It can also refer to attitudes and beliefs that a person holds towards certain objects or practices. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what explicit bias is, its definition, and examples, and the impact it can have on individuals and society as a whole.

What is Explicit Bias? | Definition & Examples

Explicit bias refers to the attitudes, beliefs, and stereotypes that individuals hold and are aware of, which influence their behavior and decisions towards certain groups of people. This type of bias is conscious, intentional, and can be directly expressed or demonstrated through actions or words.

For example, a person who holds an explicit bias against a certain race may consciously choose not to hire an individual from that race for a job, based on their belief that people from that race are less capable or qualified. Similarly, someone with an explicit bias against individuals of a certain religion may express negative views about that religion in public, or avoid interactions with individuals who follow that religion.

Explicit bias can also refer to attitudes and beliefs that people hold towards certain objects or practices, such as a bias against certain types of music or foods. In these cases, the bias may not be directed towards a specific group of people, but instead towards a specific object or practice.

How Does Explicit Bias Form?

Explicit bias can form through a number of sources, including personal experiences, cultural and societal norms, and media exposure. For example, a person who grew up in a community with a lot of negative stereotypes about a certain race may internalize those attitudes and beliefs, leading to explicit bias.

Additionally, exposure to media that perpetuates negative stereotypes can also contribute to the formation of explicit bias. For instance, seeing a television show that consistently portrays individuals of a certain race in a negative light can lead to the development of explicit bias towards that group.

Impact of Explicit Bias

The impact of explicit bias can be far-reaching and damaging, both to individuals and to society as a whole. When individuals hold explicit biases, they may act on those biases in ways that harm others, such as through discrimination in the workplace or in housing.

Explicit bias can also contribute to a toxic and hostile environment, where individuals feel unsafe and unsupported. This can lead to increased stress, decreased productivity, and decreased wellbeing for those affected by the bias.

Moreover, explicit bias can also perpetuate systemic inequalities and discrimination, leading to a persistent cycle of bias and marginalization for certain groups.

Addressing Explicit Bias

It’s important to recognize and address explicit bias in order to create a more inclusive and equitable society. This can be done through a combination of education and self-reflection, as well as taking steps to actively challenge and change biased attitudes and behaviors.

One approach is to become aware of one’s own biases and work to understand the root causes of those biases. This can involve exploring one’s own experiences and exposure to media and cultural norms, as well as seeking out diverse perspectives and experiences.

Another approach is to actively challenge and address biased attitudes and behaviors in others, through respectful and constructive conversations. This can help to create a culture that values diversity and inclusivity, and to reduce the impact of explicit bias in our communities.


Explicit bias is a conscious and intentional form of prejudice that can have a significant impact on individuals and society. However, by becoming aware of our own biases and working to challenge and change them, we can help to create a more inclusive and equitable world.

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