Unconscious Bias

by Vetyver Voices

Unconscious bias is the immediate, reflexive, defensive reaction to the ‘other’ . Without realising, we make value judgements about people and brands and our senses are a key component.

Perception and decision making are formed in a two stage process: unconscious computation and cognitive processing. Unconscious computation happens instantly and it is entirely instructed by our senses resulting in split-second, instinctive decisions which occur before we have a chance to ‘think’ about it.

Unconscious processing triggers social trust, fight or flight and we’re hardwired to stick to our own tribe and mistrust ‘others’ who may be competitive and represent danger.

We are fascinated with the role Voice has in this conversation. What decisions do you make about a person based purely on the voice (either at the end of the phone, or the voice next to you). Who you trust, hire and like. How your choices affect your team, your work and your communications. It also affects your output and your brand.


We are building a library of voices to listen to and consider what assumptions you are making, what decisions you making without realising. Listen to the voice tracks below and consider the following questions. Each track plays a voice a few times before moving on to the next. You can click between tracks and if you want to pause, click on the image.


Consider how much you think they earn? What age and ethnicity? What do you think they look like? What’s their job? Could they be a friend? Are they clever? Late? Snobby? Friendly? Would you work with them? Did they go to private school? Would you ask them to watch your bag? Are they confident? What’s their level of education, gender bias, sexuality? Are they creative? Do you like them?

We do this exercise with teams and every time we do, they are amazed at the results.


Take part. Add to the library, we’d love to hear you. To record and add your own voice to the library click here.


If you would like some insight on what your voice says about you, our partners at IMEUS will give you some feedback. They are experts in helping people to understand how the world sees them, and they offer personalised online coaching services. Record your voice and email it to us with a note that you’d like a bit of (free) personal feedback on your own voice, to feel@vetyver.co.uk.