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“Bias Inside Us” exhibit aims to help people understand science, psychology behind implicit bias

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Understanding implicit bias and the science and psychology behind it. That is the goal of a Minnesota-born exhibit.

“We all live with bias. We all have bias,” said Laura Zelle, Guest Project Manager of “The Bias Inside Us” & SITES.

It doesn’t make us terrible people. But we do have some responsibility to understand our biases and the biases of others and how those biases might lead to action.

“A small group of people here started a non-profit called ‘Tolerance in Motion.’ We really started to think about how we could break down stereotypes and barriers among people and take the show on the road,” said Zelle.

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition will tour the country through April of 2025. it’ll be at the Science Museum of Minnesota until the last Sunday in February.

“Our approach was to match the science coming out of Harvard with the conversations that people were having in their real-world experience,” said Zelle.

“The Bias Inside Us” dives into the concept of implicit bias — those assumptions, beliefs, or attitudes that live in our subconscious. It was designed to connect with middle and high school age students.

“It’s colorful. There’s a lot of video, there’s use of comics, there’s use of interactives,” said Zelle.

One part of the exhibit looks at racial housing covenants in the Twin Cities during the Segregation Era.

“This is an example of how unchecked bias turns into discriminatory practices, prejudicial and really sets up a system for decades that brings inequality to the citizens of Minnesota,” explained Zelle.

Whether young or old, Zelle and the team behind “The Bias Inside Us” hope the exhibit will serve as a reminder and a tool.

“We all have bias and it’s part of our human experience. That we’re able to check ourselves, we’re able to slow down a little bit in our interactions or as we design systems and products and that we’re able to concentrate to reduce our bias,” said Zelle.

There are several other events tied to “The Bias Inside Us” at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

For those who can’t make it in person or for teachers looking to bring the exhibit into the classroom, there is also an online exhibit.

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