Your Unconscious Biases. Exploring The Mind Through Art and Neuroscience. By Patrick L Schmidt

7 July 2024 | Curiously Intercultural, Media Views

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Don’t be blown away by the first part of the title, “Your Unconscious Biases”. While unconscious bias is a popular diversity training topic, unfortunately, it often offends, particularly those who hear it as an accusation of their behavior rather than learning about it as an essential human function for well-being in the worlds we live in. It’s a core piece of our mental functioning that needs to be understood, used, and managed. Schmidt’s book will help you do this and many other things as well.

At the outset, it is important to say that this book is an extraordinary publication in the areas of self-development and cultural competence. It blends the latest research and theory in neuroscience and cognitive psychology with the contemporary research turns toward concrete examples and storytelling in both verbal and iconic form. Simply put, this means that the author translates the latest science into everyday language and images for readers at every level.

The book is laid out in two-page-long topics. Each involves an image on the left-hand page, everything from a classical painting or sculpture to historical event photographs or contemporary diagrams and models. A short listing of the source of the image with a word or two about its implications is found on the facing page along with a most readable exposition, it’s meaning and how one could apply it to self-understanding and performance in everyday life.

This approach is a credible substitute for much of the pop psychology that proports to help us find our “authentic selves” (often portrayed as the “Californication of psychology” in my student years). This approach maps an itinerary inviting us to understand what we are, who we are, and how we can engage in the flow of competent communication with ourselves and each other across all sorts of cultural boundaries. It helps us build authenticity, a lifelong task – rather than trying to find it like a lost set of keys. This layout is a powerful application of the latest scientific insights into our human nature, masquerading as a coffee table book – I’ve decided to keep my copy there to whet the curiosity of my visitors!

While each of the topics explored is essential to our understanding of culture and how it functions within us and how we use it, the word “culture” is hardly ever mentioned. However, the text radically addresses the need for updating the understanding of what culture is and how it is created and works within us and with each other. Only at the end of the book is there an exploration of each of the stages of Milton Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity which furnishes a kind of summary of the steps in which one becomes culturally competent as one employs insights and practices presented in the rest of the book.

With its simple and powerful multifaceted approach, Schmidt’s presentation is not only a must read, but also a useful textbook, possibly a therapy supplement, and most of all, a seminal model for integrating scientific insights into everyday understanding, making a significant contribution to contemporary psychological and intercultural literature that deserves to be imitated, expanded, and employed in both research and practice going forward.

Reviewed by Dr. George F. Simons,

Title:​ Your Unconscious Biases. Exploring The Mind Through Art and Neuroscience

Author: Patrick L. Schmidt

Publisher: Meridian World Press

Publication Date: 2024

Language: English

ISBN-10: ‎0968529399

ISBN-13: 978-0968529393


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