Study: Anti-anxiety pill may reduce racial bias - FOX Carolina 21

Study: Anti-anxiety pill may reduce racial bias

Posted: Updated: March 12, 2012 11:17 PM
Propranolol is a drug used to reduce anxiety that comes from subconscious fears. (File/FOX Carolina) Propranolol is a drug used to reduce anxiety that comes from subconscious fears. (File/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

When you take a medication, there's a hope it'll cure sickness. A new study finds a commonly prescribed anxiety pill may have an unusual side effect - reducing racial bias.

Propranolol is a drug used to reduce anxiety that comes from subconscious fears. Researchers at the University of Oxford in England said they've found that those subconscious fears can be linked to racial bias.

In their study, 18 people were given the drug and 18 were given placebos.

They were given the Implicit Aptitude Test, which gauges subconscious prejudice, and the 18 who were given the drug showed they had less subconscious racial bias.

The researchers stressed that the drug didn't change people's outward racial bias - just in their subconscious. 

More than claiming that the drug "cures racism," the Oxford researchers said it, and others, do seem to affect people's moral attitudes in some ways. They said that is worth more research.

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