Leeds AI & human behaviour specialists tackle stereotypes and stigma for World Obesity Day

Artificial intelligence and human behaviour specialists Scaled Insights’ new spin out, BiasProof, drove the conversation at World Obesity Day (Thursday, March 4) to help end stereotypes and stigma around obesity.

BiasProof, based at Nexus, launched its new, mobile-enabled Implicit Association (Unconscious Bias) Test, which will enable respondents from across the globe to assess unconscious preferences or biases based on their reaction to words and images related to body size.

Dr Stuart Flint, the Company’s President and Lead Psychologist, and Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Leeds, comments:

“As identified in the UK Government’s Foresight Report in 2007, there are over 100 factors that may contribute to weight gain and obesity. These factors are multifaceted. It’s not as simple as it’s often described, and unfortunately during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the higher risk associated with COVID-19 infection for people living with obesity, much of the media portrayal has been stigmatising and derogatory.

“The new test – which is designed for use on smartphones and tablets – is the culmination of our work to develop and validate an implicit weight bias test, which is rapid and easy to use. It takes existing bias tests to the next level by providing aggregated group scores and the ability to track insights over time in order to measure change.”

The insights generated from the test can be used to support training and education programmes, or provide insights for research or policy initiatives based on implicit biases related to obesity. This project will provide a basis for further development of the BiasProof software platform, aimed at tackling wider diversity and inclusion issues, including gender and ethnicity.

“World Obesity Day presented a major opportunity for us to engage with healthcare professionals and organisations on an international scale,” said Barry Singleton, Chief Relationship Officer for BiasProof.

“BiasProof will trigger some incredibly useful insights and conversations around the many stereotypes and stigma that exist relating to obesity”, said Stuart Sherman, BiasProof’s CEO and Founder.

Dr Stuart Flint added: “We’re working closely with major companies in healthcare, education and financial services, who want to be able to identify unconscious bias in their organisations across every aspect of diversity and inclusion, in order to plan policy reviews, education and training to most effectively address it.

“The BiasProof tool will enable companies and organisations to better understand where those preconceptions, attitudes and behaviour lie and help them to initiate vital change to address them.

“World Obesity Day was the perfect platform to share this major innovation on the international stage. We believe that measuring and accepting your biases is the first step in the change needed to help you become the person you want to be.”

Interested in understanding more about your own unconscious biases? Take the BiasProof test

Bias proof logo, Bias is written in orange capital letters and proof is written in black capital letters