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  • Saturday Morning Seminar: Michael Olson, PhD

Saturday Morning Seminar: Michael Olson, PhD

  • 09 Dec 2017
  • 8:30 AM - 12:15 PM
  • University of Tennessee Medical Center - Morrison Education and Conference Center


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Michael Olson, PhD

presents a Saturday Morning Seminar

The Perils of Detecting 

and Correcting 

for Race Bias

with discussant, Cathie Bird, MA, PsyP

December 9, 2017
9:00am - 12:15pm

University of Tennessee Medical Center
Morrison Education and Conference Center
1924 Alcoa Highway
Knoxville, Tennessee 37920

Program Description
Despite some progress, race bias in both obvious (explicit) and subtle (implicit) forms continues to pervade social judgments. We’ll review some of the evidence of the effects of race bias, focusing on impression formation, hiring discrimination, and political judgments. The hard-to-ignore resurgence of explicit bias in voting behavior (e.g., Tesler, 2012) will also be discussed.

As most of us harbor biases toward various groups, whether we wish to or not, it is important to distinguish between ridding oneself of bias entirely (which is likely somewhere between difficult and impossible), and correcting for bias in social judgments through more motivated, careful thinking. The MODE model (Motivation and Opportunity as DEterminants of attitude-behavior processes; Fazio & Olson, 2014) will be introduced as a way of conceptualizing how biases influence social judgments and how people go about trying to correct for them.

Several questions arise when considering how people correct for their race biases. First, just how motivated to correct for race bias are people? As people perceive progress in race-relations, have they lowered their guard and become less motivated to correct for their bias?  Secondly, in order to correct for their bias, people must be aware of it. What do we mean by “awareness”? Are people aware of their biases? If so, how do they experience them? If they are unaware, why not? What might prevent them from achieving such awareness? Here we will discuss the concept of aversive racism (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2004), which is a form of bias that probably characterizes a good many well-intended egalitarian individuals, and creates challenges for achieving awareness of (and therefore correction for) bias. How does one raise awareness of bias? Unsurprisingly, people often react defensively when confronted with the possibility of harboring bias. How might we lower those defenses and encourage people to reflect on, and eventually succeed in correcting for, their bias?

Michael Olson, PhD, received his doctorate in social psychology in 2003 from Indiana University. Michael joined the University of Tennessee’s department of psychology in 2004, and has taught social psychology, attitudes, social influence, and prejudice at the graduate and undergraduate levels. His research involves attitudes, persuasion, and social cognition (particularly the implicit side).  He currently serves on UT’s STRIDE committee (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence), the purpose of which is to revitalize UT’s efforts to hire and retain a diverse faculty by using peer-to-peer instruction about academic research on bias and diversity. 

Cathie Bird, MA, PsyP, received her master’s degree in psychology/contemplative psychotherapy from Naropa University in 1991. She was certified in 2004 as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist by the Colorado Center for Psychoanalytic Studies. She is semi-retired from private practice and, since 2007, has been a member of the Anti-Racism Transformation Team of Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM).

Drawing on her experiences in community mental health clinic practice and more recent organizational anti-racism work, Cathie will reflect on Dr. Olson’s presentation, discussing how awareness of racial bias arises in daily life, and how we can cultivate a practice -- as individuals or in a group -- to address it. Cathie will specifically talk about ideas from psychoanalysis and Buddhist psychology that have informed not only her process of professional development, but her personal exploration of socialization in a white supremacy culture.  

8:30am Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:50am Welcome and Introduction

9:00am Implicit bias, explicit bias, and the Mode Model as a conceptual framework

10:30am Break

10:45am Challenges in correcting for race bias with reflections by discussant, Cathie Bird

12:15pm Complete Evaluations and Adjourn. 

Learning Objectives
After attending this introductory-level seminar in full, participants will be able to:

1. Define implicit and explicit bias, and identify the effects of bias on social behavior such as hiring practices, first impressions, and voting.

2.  Identify issues of controversy in the field regarding the conceptualization and measurement of bias.

3. Define the MODE model of attitude-behavior relations as it relates to bias and control of bias.

4. Define aversive racism and the tensions inherent in the minds of aversive racists.

5. Identify challenges associated with awareness of and correction for race bias.

Selected References/Recommended Reading
Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2004). Aversive racism. Advances in experimental social psychology, 36, 1-52.

Fazio, R. H., & Olson, M. A. (2014). The MODE model: Attitude-Behavior Processes as a Function of Motivation and Opportunity. In Sherman, J. W., Gawronski, B., & Trope, Y. (Eds.). Dual process theories of the social mind. New York: Guilford Press.

Howell, J. L., Collisson, B., Crysel, L., Garrido, C. O., Newell, S. M., Cottrell, C. A., ... & She pperd, J. A. (2013). Managing the threat of impending implicit attitude feedback. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 714-720.

Olson, M. A., & Zabel, K. L. (2016). Measures of prejudice. In T. Nelson (Ed.), Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination (pp. 175-212). New York: Psychology Press.

Phillips, J. E., & Olson, M. A. (2014). When implicitly and explicitly measured racial attitudes align: The roles of social desirability and thoughtful responding. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 36, 125-132.

Tesler, M. (2012). The return of old-fashioned racism to White Americans’ partisan preferences in the early Obama era. The Journal of Politics, 75, 110-123.

This program is open to all APS members and other interested mental health professionals who may not be members. It is not limited to individuals practicing in a predominately psychoanalytic mode. The material will be appropriate for clinicians with introductory levels of experience and knowledge.

Professional and Scholar Members:

$45 until December 4, 2017,

$55 after December 4, 2017.

Early-Career Professional Members:

Free if registered by December 4, 2017,

$10 after December 4, 2017.

Graduate Student Members: Free.


$60 until December 4, 2017,

$70 after December 4, 2017.

Although walk-ins will be accepted, please register online at in advance to assure adequate food and seating.

If you prefer to pay by check, please mail your payment to:
Scott Swan, PhD
APS Treasurer
1005 Kenesaw Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37919.

Refunds honored with written/electronic notice at least 24 hours before date of conference. Contact Scott Swan, PhD

Contact the APS President Bill MacGillivray, PhD to negotiate fees, if needed.

Facility is accessible to persons who are physically challenged. Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons requesting them.

APS Membership
Eligible professionals can join APS or renew their membership for the 2017-2018 program year for $80. Scholars can join/renew for $50 and Early-Career Professionals can join/renew for $45. Graduate students may join or renew for $25.

American Psychological Association Approval Statement
Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Continuing Education
This program, when attended in its entirety, is available for 3.0 continuing education credits. With full attendance and completion of a program Evaluation and Learning Assessment, a certificate will be issued. Psychologists will have their participation registered through Division 39.

APS and Division 39 are committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. APS and Division 39 are also committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in continuing education activities. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods.

If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address requests, questions, concerns and any complaints to APS President Bill MacGillivray, PhD.

There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between Division 39, APS, presenter, program content, research, grants or other funding sources that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest. During the program, the validity/utility of the content and risks/limitations of the approaches discussed will be addressed.

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