Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Bias has several different meanings, most relating to an offset of some sort.

Table of contents
1 Viewpoint
2 Statistics
3 Science
4 Electronics/electrical engineering
5 Computer Science
6 Communes
7 Seven Sages of Greece
8 Textiles
9 Sports


A bias is a prejudice in a general or specific sense, usually in the sense for having a predilection to one particular view or ideology. One is said to be biased if one is influenced by one's biases. A bias could for example lead one to accept or non-accept the truth of a claim, not because of the strength of the claim itself, but because it does or does not correspond to one's own preconceived ideas.

An example of bias is having an Americo-centric point of view (the point of view of an Americann, in particular one from the US), or similar for another country.

Systematic bias is also possible in news coverage and may be detected through empirical analysis. For an example, see the statistical findings reported in "Reporting a New Delhi Bias? A Content Analysis of AP Wire Stories on the Conflicts in Sri Lanka and Kashmir," by John Hickman and Sarah Bartlett, in Jouvert: A Journal of Post-Colonial Studies, Volume 6, Number 3 (Spring 2002) at http://social.chass.ncsu.edu/jouvert/v613/sri.htm ).

A systematic bias is a bias resulting from some system. For example, a committee on evolution that meets in a Christian church and is primarily advertised through fliers in Bibles may have a bias towards Christian views of evolution.

See also: Neutral, Scholarly method


In statistics, the word bias means that an estimator for some reason on average over- or under-estimates what is being estimated. It has at least two different senses, one referring to something considered very bad, the other referring to something that is occasionally desirable. See bias (statistics) and also confirmation bias, publication bias, selection bias.


In philosophy of science and design of experiments, bias comprises psychological factors which affect scientific hypothesis testing. The variants culture bias, cognitive bias, confirmation bias, infrastructure bias, perception bias and notation bias are widely recognized.

Electronics/electrical engineering

In electrical engineering, the term bias has the following meanings:

  1. A systematic deviation of a value from a reference value.
  2. The amount by which the average of a set of values departs from a reference value.
  3. Electrical, mechanical, magnetic, or other force (field) applied to a device to establish a reference level to operate the device.
  4. In telegraph signaling systems, the development of a positive or negative DC voltage at a point on a line that should remain at a specified reference level, such as zero.

Note: A bias may be applied or produced by (i) the electrical characteristics of the line, (ii) the terminal equipment, and (iii) the signaling scheme.

(Source: from Federal Standard 1037C and from MIL-STD-188)

Most often, bias simply refers to a fixed DC voltage applied to the same point in a circuit as an AC signal, frequently to select the desired operating response of a semiconductor (forward or reverse bias). For example, a bias voltage is applied to a transistor in an electronic amplifier to allow the transistor to operate in a particular region of its transconductance curve.

Bias is also the term used for a high-frequency signal added to the audio signal recorded on magnetic tape. See tape bias.

Bias is used in direct broadcast satellites such as DirecTV and Dish Network, the IRD box actually powers the feedhorn or LNB receiver mounted on the dish arm. This bias is changed from a lower voltage to a higher voltage to select the polarization of the LNB, so that it receives signals that are polarized either clockwise or counterclockwise, thereby allowing it to receive twice as many channels.

This should also mention bias as the term defined here: http://www.dictionary.com/search?q=bias, def 2.

Computer Science

Bias is often used to describe how a search algorithm is restricted or expects the world to behave. For example it could be biased by restricting the search space, or by assuming the heuristics such as occams razor are applicable to the world.


Bias is the name of several communes in France:

Seven Sages of Greece

Bias was said to be one of the Seven Sages of Greece. His hometown was Priene, so some people refer to him as Bias of Priene.


On a woven fabric, the bias is the 45-degree diagonal line, along which it is most stretchable, and along which the fabric is often cut.

See also: textile


In sports, bias is the irregular weight or shape of a ball, which may cause it to curve or swerve in an unexpected manner. That result may also in itself be called bias. For a deliberate example, see the game of bowls.