Out, Darn BlindSpot!

Image Credit: Image believed to be public domain. 

Image Credit: Image believed to be public domain. 

Remember this? The old woman/young woman optical illusion —formally known as the Boring Figure after psychologist Edwin Boring—has entertained countless cereal-box-reading kiddos and Psychology 101 students for years. (Can’t see both images? Click here for help.) This and other optical illusions are more than just fun mind twisters, though. They also help to demonstrate an important truth:

We don’t always see what’s right in front of us. 

Despite their enormous complexity, our brains are able to process limited amounts of data, so they tend occasionally to oversimplify, overgeneralize, and overlook information. That means we don’t always perceive reality in full. Even though the Boring Figure contains the features of both the old and young woman images, people seeing it for the first time will generally see only one of those women. They don’t always see the full picture. 

In much the same way, we have psychological tendencies that prevent us from seeing that our choices and behaviors might be unethical. At the Alliance, we call these BlindSpots.

BlindSpots threaten our commitment to the values we hold dear. But if we practice checking those BlindSpots, we’ll be more capable of preventing ethical missteps at work. 

On Thursday, August 16, 2018 our very own Dr. Rebecca Shively will lead an engaging conversation at a Breakfast & BlindSpots event. Join us for coffee and pastries, great networking, and invaluable ethics education.