05:38 by Editor · 0 Post a comment on AAWR

Unveiling secrets of the brain in race relations

Race in America confounds and confuses people.

Just when folks think they’ve figured it out, they see how wrong they are. Black History Month is a perfect time to explore some new research on the conundrum.

An article in the fall 2007 issue of Smithsonian magazine offers insight.

It examines research by Jennifer A. Richeson at Northwestern University. Richeson is a social psychologist teaching a stereotyping and prejudice class.

David Berreby’s Smithsonian article said Richeson “peers into the unconscious world of race relations, using computers to measure microsecond differences in reaction times.”

Equipment such as functional magnetic resonance imaging machines probed the recesses of individuals’ minds where racism lurks.

The machines exposed how people’s brains reacted to “interracial encounters.” The technique enabled Richeson to bring to the surface the “ ‘they aren’t like us’ feeling — which can be about gender, age, religion, language, sexual orientation or even obesity.”

But race is Richeson’s focus. Race enables some through white privilege while disabling others because of racism.

Richeson’s computer-based technique called the Implicit Association Test measures to a fraction of a second the differences in how quickly people associate stereotypically white-sounding names such as Chip with positive things such as heaven.

The same test was applied to black-sounding names such as Jamaal. Whites pair white names faster with positive words.

“The first step in countering the influences of these biases is to become aware of them,” Richeson said.

“Tasks like the IAT help with this quite a bit.”

People then can catch themselves and change from being biased to being inclusive.

Richeson’s research also found that in addition to not seeing our own prejudice, we also don’t realize how much energy we put into masking it.

She used the imaging machines to illuminate white students’ brain activity as they viewed pictures of black men.

Berreby wrote, “Two brain regions were unusually active: the right prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulated cortex, both of which are known to be hard at work when people have to evaluate and shape their own behavior — a process some psychologists call ‘executive function’ and the rest of us might call ‘self-control.’ ”.....Article conts (-)

Related Posts by Categories

Post a comment on AAWR

0 Responses to " "

Post a Comment

We welcome contributions from all sides of the debate, at AAWR comment is free, AAWR may edit and/or delete your comments if abusive, threatening, illegal or libellous according to our understanding of, no emails will be published. Your comments may be published on other nationalist media sites worldwide.