Q:

What is positive bias?

A:

A positive bias is a term in sociology that indicates feelings toward a subject that influence its positive treatment. This can be seen in a number of different forms, and while it may be innocent enough in most cases, it can represent a less than favorable trend.

The best example of a positive bias having a negative result is found in education. Most people had at least one teacher who pushed them harder than they did everyone else. In retrospect, the average adult sees that added pressure for what it was. Unfortunately, not everyone receives this additional attention from adult role models. As a result, those who do not may not be aware of or believe in their own potential for growth and achievement. This can lead to poor self-image, lack of personal motivation and a general apathy toward the goals they set. Unfortunately, not all teachers are aware of the impact that they have on their students. Those students who receive a teacher's attention as a result of their positive bias tend to achieve more. However, Caucasian students tend to have a higher rate of occurrence for these interactions than non-Caucasian students. The choice to motivate one student over another may be innocuous, but the choice not to provide that attention to a specific student can have lasting effects.


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