Illustration for article titled Can a Heart Drug Cure Racism?

Researchers in Britain say that a common drug called propranolol, used to lower blood pressure in heart disease patients, was also found to lower "implicit" racist attitudes as well:

From the Huffington Post: 

The findings, published in the journal Psychopharmacology, offer new evidence about the processes in the brain that shape implicit racial bias, said Sylvia Terbeck, experimental psychologist and lead author of the study, London's The Telegraph reports. "Implicit racial bias can occur even in people with a sincere belief in equality," Terbeck said.


To gauge the ethical impact of the drug, two groups of 18 white participants were given either the beta-blocker propranolol or a "dummy" placebo pill. Each volunteer was also asked to undertake a "racial Implicit Association Test" (IAT) one to two hours after taking propranolol or the placebo.

In one part of the test, volunteers were asked to sort pictures of black and white faces into categories along with positive and negative words, such as "happy" and "sad."


In another segment, the test-takers were asked to report how "warm" they felt toward certain groups, including black people and Muslims, the New York Daily News explains.

Participants who took propranolol, which is also used to treat anxiety and panic, appeared to be less racially prejudiced at a subconscious level than those treated with the placebo.

In that case, we can think of a few people who could use a dose. Hopefully it can be prescribed off-label!

Read more at the Huffington Post.

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