Neutrality

“Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. “– Kirwan Institue for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, Understanding Implicit Bias
“Hidden biases [bits of knowledge about social groups] can influence our behavior toward members of particular social groups, but we remain oblivious to their influence. Most people find it unbelievable that their behavior can be guided by mental content of which they are unaware.”– from Blindspot,: Hidden Biases of Good People

A mediator’s neutrality is key to a successful mediation.  Ask any mediator,  “Do you mediate in an impartial manner?”  The answer most likely would be “yes” or “of course.”

Practically, even experienced mediators harbor implicit biases or hidden biases based on attitudes or stereotypes learned early in life.  Research shows that good intentions to act impartially are insufficient to counteract implicit bias and that concrete strategies need to be employed to interrupt the habit of implicit biases.  I have extensively researched implicit bias and taught this subject to local, national and international mediators.  In exploring my own implicit biases, I rely on research-based strategies to debias my thoughts, actions and decisions.  I work to facilitate mediations with equality of process and outcome, and in a manner that is free from conflicts of interest, prejudice, favoritism and bias.