Post By RelatedRelated Post
Researchers in England are claiming that they have a heart disease pill that can also reduce racism. Oxford University researchers say that small doses of the beta blocker propranolol can lead the patient to score lower on tests designed to measure subconscious racism. The pill is primarily used to lower blood pressure and manage panic and anxiety problems.
During the study, 18 students were given 20 mg of the pill and then given tests of racial attitudes, including pictures of black and white faces, along with being asked questions about Muslims. Those who took the drug are said to have lower “implicit” racist feelings and were quicker to associate the black faces with positive words. The scientists argue that the results are due to the fact that much racial bias is connected to fear and emotion.
“Such research raises the tantalizing possibility that our unconscious racial attitudes could be modulated using drugs, a possibility that requires careful ethical analysis,” the study’s co-author Professor Julian Savulescu said.
Dr. Chris Chambers of the University of Cardiff’s School of Psychology says that results should be viewed cautiously.
“We don’t know whether the drug influenced racial attitudes only or whether it altered implicit brain systems more generally,” he said.
“So although interesting, in my view these preliminary results are a long way from suggesting that propranolol specifically influences racial attitudes.”