Sleep proven to reduce bigotry

Sleep proven to reduce bigotry
Sleep proven to reduce bigotry

Racial and gender biases can be unlearned with a programmed method of sleep according to new research published in the edition of the journal Science. Everyone has internalized concepts of race and gender despite their external and conscious objections to the same biases. Scientists from Northwestern University, Princeton University, and the University of Texas at Austin have shown that internalized biases can be reduced and even removed by a particular type of programmed sleep.

Slow-wave sleep is a part of deep sleep where there is no rapid eye movement. Most people experience periods of slow-wave sleep unless they have a chemical or physical impediment that prevents slow-wave sleep. The researchers discovered that the addition of the proper tones of sound during slow-wave sleep reduced the biases that people have internalized despite their conscious rejection of those biases.

A group of 40 Caucasian test subjects was exposed to a series of sounds until the researchers found the correct wavelength that reduced bias. The same subjects were exposed to the bias reducing sound during a short nap for one week. The level of inherent bias in each test subject was decreased by an average of 40 percent for gender and 20 percent for race using this method.

Considering the huge increase in racial tension due to the killing of young black people by the police in a number of United States cities in 2015, one has to wonder what effect this treatment might produce in relations between races and sexes. Many science fiction films have presented the prospect of programming the populace during sleep as a part of a dystopian scenario. If this research proves viable on a large scale then a potential intervention from “Big Brother” might be the cure for some of the race problems that we still have in the United States.

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Crystal Perry
Crystal Perry, MS, LMHC, LPC has been working in the clinical field for over a decade. She has helped to empower individuals to think critically and creatively to solve problems and help improve their lives. Perry has applied these clinical skills in multiple agencies with every population from infants to older adults. She has used these experience to be a state office expert mental health treatment. Her training in clinical practice and art therapy has afforded her the opportunity to understand all aspects of mental health and wellness.


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