Can a Little Pill Actually ‘Cure’ Racism?
Could the solution to racism be the popular blood pressure pill Propranolol?
As crazy as that sounds, there is now clinical evidence to suggest that taking 40 milligrams of the drug significantly lowers "subtle and spontaneous biased behavior" against people of other races, as measured by the Harvard University Implicit Association Test.
"Implicit racial bias can occur even in people with a sincere belief in equality," said Oxford University professor Sylvia Terbeck, lead author of the study. "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."
The researchers aren't sure if the Propranolol improved racial attitudes by altering the taker's brain chemistry, or if the change came simply because it calmed them by slowing down their heart rate.