Re: Brain Structure Drives The Consequent Effects Of Economic Inequality

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:37 pm, #26
by Doctor A
Income inequality related to gender is a serious economic issue. The problem is related to brain structure and specifically implicit (subconscious) bias. The subconscious is maintained as a filter and sees repeating patterns from the external world as a mechanism to process incoming information in a manner to quickly scan for fight or flight events. This rapid and powerful mechanism is the underlying cause of bias in both men and women.

In post #24 of this thread, Maureen expresses an overview of the power of the subconscious compared to our perceived conscious thoughts,
From my undergraduate days in college I learned we are only aware of 5% of our brain activity and the other 95% is subconscious. Economic inequality works the same way; neuroscience research indicates most of our thoughts on the matter have been preordained by the unconscious portion of our brains and this happens extremely fast without our awareness. In fact, as soon as you meet someone you have already made an unconscious decision about that person's social class based upon their skin color, gender, facial appearance, dress, and a myriad of other variables outside of your conscious control.
This phenomena of bias being controlled by the subconscious is borne out in the literature,

Scientific America
How to Think about "Implicit Bias." Amidst a controversy, it’s important to remember that implicit bias is real—and it matters
By Keith Payne, Laura Niemi, John M. Doris on March 27, 2018 ... icit-bias/
When is the last time a stereotype popped into your mind? If you are like most people, the authors included, it happens all the time. That doesn’t make you a racist, sexist, or whatever-ist. It just means your brain is working properly, noticing patterns, and making generalizations. But the same thought processes that make people smart can also make them biased. This tendency for stereotype-confirming thoughts to pass spontaneously through our minds is what psychologists call implicit bias. It sets people up to overgeneralize, sometimes leading to discrimination even when people feel they are being fair.
Bias in the Brain: Overcoming Our Unconscious Prejudices
March 17, 2016 • By Mona D. Fishbane, PhD, ... es-0317165
Research suggests that our brains are wired to distinguish friend from foe, us versus them. This makes evolutionary sense; in early human prehistory, our ancestors lived in small clans. Back then, it was crucial that you could tell who was part of your group and who might be a threatening outsider. Your life depended on it. If you saw the other as a danger, your automatic fight-or-flight response would get triggered, and you did what you had to do to survive. This was a quick, automatic process, and it may have saved your life. If you assessed that the other was a friend or part of your own clan, you could relax and engage socially.

This ancient system for self-protection lives on in our brains and bodies today. We, too, automatically scan our environment for friend versus foe. Parts of the brain, especially the amygdala, are constantly assessing for danger. If threat is sensed, you either flee or fight—or freeze, in the case of life-threatening danger with no escape.

According to neuroscientist Stephen Porges, we have complex vagal systems in our brains and bodies that work to assess safety versus danger. If we sense safety, we relax and our social engagement systems are activated, allowing us to hang out with our friends, smile, and enjoy the many benefits of connecting with others.
As referenced in the above Scientific Article, "implicit bias is real—and it matters."

Implicit Bias and Wage Inequality
Prepared by the Senate Office of Research
April 18, 2017 ... uality.pdf
Implicit Bias and Wage Inequality
Prepared by the Senate Office of Research
April 18, 2017

What is Implicit Bias?

Implicit bias involves “attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.”1 According to a body of scholarly research, the unconscious attitudes we hold about other people often are based on categories such as race, gender, age, or ethnicity. Studies suggest that implicit bias is pervasive, not necessarily in line with our declared beliefs, developed early in life, and not fixed.2 Further, implicit bias is expressed at both an individual and institutional level. Institutional bias has been studied in education, employment, and criminal justice contexts, and it may present itself in an organization’s policies and procedures. In the employment context, some argue that gender bias influences pay practices and has contributed to a significant gap in what women and men are paid.

What is the Gender Pay Gap?

The gender pay gap measures what women are paid relative to men. It can be measured as a median earnings ratio between men and women or as an actual gap in median earnings. Median earnings generally are reported annually or on a weekly basis. Median earnings are determined by identifying the “middle” salary of the salary set.

In the United States, as of 2015, women’s median earnings were approximately $40, 700, compared with $51, 200 for men.3 This translates to women making 80 cents for every dollar earned by men. In California, the gap is somewhat less, with women making 84 cents on the dollar.4 The gap persists regardless of a woman’s education level. In terms of tangible income, women are losing a little more than $8,000 annually to the pay gap. A study of U.S. Census Bureau pay data reveals that California’s gender pay gap in 2014 amounted to $39 billion in lost wages for women.
Management Today
Unconscious bias lies at the heart of gender inequality
by Harriet Heneghan, Published: 08 Mar 2018 ... le/1458958
Equality in the boardroom is one of the hottest topics of 2018, and especially so on International Women’s Day. In fact, there are countless schemes designed to redress the balance of a global business culture in which less than one in six board members are female.

But what if some of the reasons behind that statistic – revealed by a global Deloitte report in 2017 - were not down to out-and-out prejudice or even to institutional sexism?

Business leaders, psychologists and sociologists are increasingly looking at unconcious bias to understand why progress has not been as fast as society demands.

Unconscious bias is where your background, personal experiences, societal stereotypes and cultural context impact your decisions and actions without you realising. Implicit or unconscious bias happens by our brains making incredibly quick judgments and assessments of people and situations without us realising.

Many people call it a form of mental shortcut. The brain has so much information to take in that it has to come up with a way of dealing with this complexity.
So how does this affect women in the workplace?

It’s easy to see how unconscious bias can affect the progress of women at work. Perhaps deep-lying assumptions are made around whether women want promotion or not, whether they have time to manage all the complications in their lives, whether they can attend anything ‘out-of-hours’. There could also be hidden bias around how women look, how they dress, how they communicate – in fact around all manner of traits.

Of course, it isn’t only men who are driven by unconscious bias, it is women too. All those values we build based on family and culture plus all the experiences we have been through in our life help set the level of our own ambition and self-belief.
Personnel Today
How to use neuroscience to tackle unconscious bias
By Dr Lynda Shaw on 10 Apr 2018 ... ious-bias/
Unconscious bias affects most decision making on a daily basis; it’s normal and it is usually subtle. But in the business arena, if unchecked, it can erode staff morale and ruin any progress an organisation tries to make to embrace inclusion.

Many organisations now appreciate that there is a strong correlation between embracing gender diversity and business success. The logic behind this is powerful: the diverse sea of top talent is larger, so there will be a wider choice of the best people. This could produce a clear competitive advantage.

Findings from a McKinsey Global Institute study (2015) revealed that a lack of gender diversity was associated with a greater likelihood of below par performance in a sample of 366 companies in Canada, Latin America, the UK and the US.

This research, and that from Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing (2015), also found that individual female investors were twice as likely as male investors to consider positive social or environmental impact alongside rate of return.

Because it is clear that gender diversity is beneficial to organisations, it is vital to close the gender pay gap. Yes, it’s necessary to recruit more women to senior positions, but businesses should look to ensure there is no unconscious bias when recruiting all employees and when offering promotion.
The principle points to take away regarding the outcome of gender inequality are that it is neither fair nor good for both the individual subjected to the bias or to the business's bottom line.