Heart Disease Drug May Combat RacismBy: Mike Fossum - March 14, 2012
Researchers have submitted a study suggesting that a heart disease drug may work to combat implicit racial bias.
The study was conducted at Oxford University and findings were published in the international medical journal of Psychopharmacology. Propranolol, the drug in question, was shown to reduce implicit negative racial bias.
Dr. Sylvia Terbeck states that “Implicit racial bias can occur even in people with a sincere belief in equality – Given the key role that such implicit attitudes appear to play in discrimination against other ethnic groups, and the widespread use of propranolol for medical purposes, our findings are also of considerable ethical interest.”
In the experiment, 18 white people were given propranolol, and 18 were given a placebo. Researchers then used a “feeling thermometer” to gauge how warm subjects felt toward particular groups. The results showed that the drug “significantly lowered the heart rate” of racists. It was also discovered that there wasn’t much of a difference between the propranolol and placebo groups toward religious or sexual prejudice.
“The main finding of our study is that propranolol significantly reduced implicit but not explicit racial bias,” Terbeck concluded. In roughly 18 white people – which makes these results appear to be a bit flimsy.
Perhaps propranolol could be used to combat job suspensions garnered from posting racist Facebook rants.