Implicit Bias Transformation Program by Siobahn Hotaling

For Siobahn Hotaling’s final capstone project at Harvard, she decided to develop a comprehensive bias transformation program. Dissatisfied with the programs she had researched and experienced – she found them to be too general, deductive, and unable to cause permanent shifts in the participants – Siobahn developed The Implicit Bias Transformation Program (IBTP). The IBTP addresses the limitations of the interventions that have preceded it by taking a more personalized and internally-focused approach. The program utilizes a methodology that works with the implicit aspect of individual beliefs through uncovering and addressing the origins and emotions surrounding these biases.  The ultimate goal of the IBTP is to help motivated individuals transform their implicit biases – using combination of conceptual change instruction, metacognitive exercises and emotional explorations to specifically target the automated aspect of their biased beliefs. 

Below is the introduction to Siobahn’s prototype:

The Implicit Bias Transformation Program is an individualized, intensive program that is designed to assist willing participants in identifying, examining, and ultimately transforming their implicit bias. Implicit bias is a generally subconscious, automatic form of bias that most individuals lack awareness of; however, these biases still have a great deal of influence on our thoughts, emotions, and behavior towards others, and therefore need to be addressed.

The goal of the IBTP is to give motivated individuals a methodical framework in which they can examine and transform their biases – a comprehensive series of steps and explorations that are intended to specifically target the origins of bias on a personal emotional and cognitive level. In order to do so, we have also implemented a number of tools into our model that are specifically designed to lay the foundation for individuals to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, as well as helping them develop the emotional fortitude required to face and transform their biased beliefs. While our approach is more time-and-resource-intensive than other diversity or bias trainings, we believe that this individualized, personal approach is essential to actually creating change in the participants.

As such, it is imperative that all participants, even if under the direction or umbrella of an organization, be voluntarily engaging in this program. Ideally, they are individuals who hold tolerance and equality as a value, and they must also be willing to face and challenge any biased beliefs that they encounter in the process; this type of commitment and self-driven motivation is critical to the program’s efficacy.

Learn more about the IBTP

Below is a link to the new website of Siobahn Hotaling’s final project and prototype; if you would like to discuss the program further, please reach out using the contact form on this site or the IBTP site.