The Ouch! Files Masthead

furthering the skills and commitment
to speak up on behalf of respect

The OUCH Files build upon the best-selling, video-based training program Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts.
Preview the video. Preview the eLearning.


Good Intentions Are Not Enough

Good intentions are not enough to overcome unconscious bias. Whether we are aware of it or not, the unconscious brain is influencing our perceptions and our behavior.

Brain News

Neuroscience is now revealing that when it comes to dealing with differences, the brain has unconscious, built-in preferences for what is familiar and already known and will move away from differences that are not familiar or comfortable. When it comes to inclusion, the brain can work against us.

Why This News Is Important

Biases are a natural part of the brain’s operating system. In fact, the brain is a bias-making machine, and no amount of self-reflection will uncover all of our unconscious biases, preferences or expectations. While it is very important to continually build awareness of our biases, this is not a sufficient strategy for improving and sustaining employees’ ability to demonstrate inclusive behaviors.

The Good News…

When it comes to inclusion, the brain can also work for us. Within the brain, there is a complementary set of processes that can be consciously engaged to demonstrate inclusion skills. Understanding these and other brain dynamics is a key strategy for overcoming unconscious bias in the workplace.

A new approach to developing inclusion skills accounts for the dynamics of the unconscious brain and develops the ability to operate from the neocortex – “the higher brain” – more of the time. It is the higher brain that ensures our ability to:

For More News on Inclusion & the Brain…

It is estimated that 40-50% of the decisions we make every day are unconscious, yet the competency of inclusion lies in the neocortex, where conscious thought occurs. To learn more about how to override the unconscious brain and make choices based on inclusion, respect and appreciation, click to download the white paper, The Neuroscience of Inclusion: Managing Unconscious Bias, by Mary E. Casey & Shannon Murphy Robinson.


Which of the two orange circles is larger?

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Bias: 1) a predisposition to see certain events, people or items in a positive or negative way; 2) a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that usually results in treating some people unfairly

Unconscious Bias: bias that occurs at an unconscious level, of which the holder of the bias is unaware and may even sincerely deny

Inclusion: the state of being included, to have (someone or something) as part of a group

Neocortex: the newer portion of the cerebral cortex that serves as the center of higher mental functions for humans

Neuroscience: a branch of the life sciences that deals with the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry or molecular biology of nerves and nervous tissue, and especially with their relation to behavior and learning


“By being who I am
I’ve been able to channel my energies into what matters.
I don’t have to maintain a façade that is self-defeating
and attacks my integrity.”