Tuesday, February 3, 2009


How to be color-blind

Perceptual training reduces racial bias

The difficulty people have distinguishing among individuals who belong to other races isn’t necessarily racist: When someone says “They all look the same to me,” it may be because they literally do. Scientists call it the other-race effect, and psychologists at Brown University say they’ve discovered a cure.

The researchers reasoned that people who had a tough time differentiating among individuals of a certain race would be more likely to rely on broad stereotypes when thinking about that race. And so, they put 20 Caucasian volunteers through a training regimen that forced them to memorize a variety of black and Asian faces.

Surprisingly, the training did more than erase the other-race effect — it also reduced subjects’ racial biases: Having learned to distinguish among individual faces, they were more likely to perceive and relate to people as individuals rather than as stand-ins for the group. The cure for racism may just be a matter of learning how to see more clearly.

Hm, interesting. I've always said that one has to look closer to see the truth :). What do you think? Can science cure racism?


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