Q: My friend said you made a presentation on Safety Bias. What does that mean?

A: Every brain appears to have an innate “bias” that helps it discriminate between safe and unsafe situations. This can also include individuals. The safety evaluation is triggered whenever the brain sees and makes a fast nano-second evaluation about any human being:

  • Is the person like me or different from me?
  • Am I SAFE?
  • Have I seen this person?
  • Have I seen someone similar before?

Depending on its bias assessment, the brain prompts you to approach or withdraw—to “move forward toward” or to “move away from”—the person.

The potential problem occurs when an individual has been taught that a person of a different race or skin color or gender or sexual orientation (or you-name-it) is “unsafe.” This can result in the brain making an inaccurate assessment and then acting on it immediately. 

Healthy discrimination based on accurate bias assessments can help keep you safe. Unmanaged, it can be deadly and lead to injury, mob-mentality riots, and death.