Bonus Post on "shifting" rationale
From the mentornet website:
I got this in an email. I really appreciate how the author summarizes the phenomenon so succinctly.
Subconscious Bias Perpetuates Gender Gap
Last week we were invited to attend the 2010 NCWIT summit in Portland, Oregon, with its impressive array of presentations. One in particular, "The role of implicit bias in perpetuation of the gender gap in science and technology" by Dr. Brian Nosek, Department of Psychology at University of Virginia, made me wonder how much we are at the mercy of subconscious factors when we make decisions, even when we have the best of intentions.
One of the studies cited found that when asked which firefighter had the best credentials for promotion, the percentage was always higher for the male candidate, no matter which credentials were attached. And when the participants were asked why they had chosen this candidate, they did not say that it was because of his gender. They were convinced that it was the credentials that influenced their decision. According to the researcher, this phenomenon is called "shifting": when the criterion moves in order to accommodate a subconscious prejudice. The difficulty in fighting this phenomenon is that the person making the decision is not conscious at all that it was gender that determined the final outcome and not the credentials.
-Alejandra Velásquez, Director of Media and Communications