News & Publications

Jan 12th, 2017

Luncheon: The Power of “Hidden” Biases, 01/25/17, Kissimmee

Luncheon: The Power of “Hidden” Biases at The Florida Bar's Winter Meeting in Kissimmee. Speaker, Barbara Thompson, UCF Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Register Here

A fundamental quality of the human mind is to group objects into categories based on a wide range of discernible characteristics.  This ability helped early people to distinguish friend from foe and was instrumental in our ancestors’ survival.  As adaptive as this response may sometimes be, it also is the foundation of the biases, stereotypes, and prejudices that are present in our conscious and unconscious thinking. Even when we believe that we have eliminated these biases from our thinking, they still lurk in our heads as a sort of “hidden” residue.  We may deliberately strive to behave without prejudice and may be consciously committed to equal and fair treatment of other people, but studies indicate that we continue to possess preconceived notions and stereotypes.  These “hidden” biases influence our perceptions and actions. This workshops provides examples of how “hidden” biases may manifest themselves and, through a self-reflective activity, offers participants a way to examine possible stereotypes they may have been exposed to in their lifetimes from four different sources of information – the people who raised you, school, the media, and friends.


Speaker – Barbara Thompson

Ms. Thompson is the Assistant Director of Diversity Education and Faculty Engagement in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Central Florida. She has more than 20 years of experience as a coordinator of training, curriculum developer, and workshop facilitator. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Psychology and is a published author in the fields of human memory and concept development. She is a Certified Public Accountant in Florida, and prior to going into the field of Diversity Education, she performed audit and tax work. Barbara often shares that she and her husband, Jim, met while completing a tax return.


Barbara is a committed community volunteer, serving on both the Board of Directors and the UpStanders Advisory Committee at the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida. Ms. Thompson is a recipient of the Walt Disney World Teacherrrific award and a two-time recipient of The Outstanding Educator award in Business Industry Services.