Skip to Main Content
We are working to upgrade the research experience by making ongoing improvements to our Research Guides.
You may encounter changes in the look and feel of the Research Guides website along with structural changes to our existing guides. If you have any questions or concerns about this process please let us know.

Digital Media Literacy


What is bias?

  • Bias is a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others, which often results in treating some people unfairly.
  • Explicit bias refers to attitudes and beliefs (positive or negative) that we consciously or deliberately hold and express about a person or group. Explicit and implicit biases can sometimes contradict each other.
  • Implicit bias includes attitudes and beliefs (positive or negative) about other people, ideas, issues, or institutions that occur outside of our conscious awareness and control, which affect our opinions and behavior. Everyone has implicit biases—even people who try to remain objective (e.g., judges and journalists)—that they have developed over a lifetime. However, people can work to combat and change these biases.
  • Confirmation bias, or the selective collection of evidence, is our subconscious tendency to seek and interpret information and other evidence in ways that affirm our existing beliefs, ideas, expectations, and/or hypotheses. Therefore, confirmation bias is both affected by and feeds our implicit biases. It can be most entrenched around beliefs and ideas that we are strongly attached to or that provoke a strong emotional response.

Credit: Facing History and Ourselves: Confirmation and Other Biases, Lesson 3

Helpful links for understanding and determining source bias

Filter Bubbles

What is a "filter bubble"?  The term refers to an intellectual or mental space in which we allow only what we want to see and hear.  Our filter bubbles reinforce our own notions of what is true, even in the face of information that challenges our bubbles.  View the following video to find out why it's not only important, but also vital, for us to burst our filter bubbles as often as possible.


Social media and web search engine algorithms are deliberately opaque.  Algorithms often reinforce our existing biases. Unline media stories, how these tools distribute fake news is not open to scrutiny.  In this opinion article from New York Times, "How to Monitor Fake News," Tom Wheeler suggests a way to open up social media algorithms to public scrutiny without compromising individual privacy.

Striking Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives, But They Also Share Common Ground

The Miseducation of Dylann Roof (video)

This video from the Southern Poverty Law Center shows how the Google searching algorithm effectively narrowed the perspective of Dylann Roof because he searched for white supremacy information. In this example, other points of view were not represented because the Google search results privileged hate sites.

Last updated on Jun 3, 2024 2:24 AM