Utilizing our Higher Brain in our Thinking: Unconscious Bias

We are more apt to accept someone else’s culture if we are utilizing our higher brain in our thinking. Higher brain thinking reflects attention to rewiring the neural pathways of unconscious bias and negative thinking.

When we are using higher brain function, executive function, our pre-frontal cortex leads the way.  We show up with the ability to process complex conflicting information, have a great sense of self awareness and more likely that choices are more conscious.

Our body can give us clues to whether or not we are using our higher brain state.  We are relaxed and comfortable in our skin.  We are attentive to what is going on around us.  Our thinking is clear.  We feel confident and empowered. 

There are multiple strategies for recognizing and reducing implicit bias. One of the most important practices is to strengthen your metacognition – the ability to think about what you are thinking and feeling.


Stacie L. Walton MD, MPH, recently retired from Kaiser Permanente as a clinical Pediatrician serving in the roles of both Diversity Champion and Communication Consultant. She served as a medical consultant in diversity issues for healthcare providers and institutions for over 25 years.

Currently, her cultural competency themes highlight the impact of implicit bias and privilege in patient interactions and health outcomes, as well as, how effective patient-provider communication requires both competences and humility.

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