Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Racism is hardwired into the brain, say scientists - and it operates unconsciously
The same circuits in the brain that allow us to see which ethnic group a person belongs to overlap with others that drive emotional decisions. The result is that even right-thinking individuals make unconscious decisions based on a person's race. Brain scans have proved that interactions with people of other ethnic backgrounds set off reactions that may be completely unknown to our conscious selves. The finding may force researchers to think about racism in entirely new ways. It's possible, the researchers say, that even right-thinking, egalitarian people could harbor racist attitudes without knowing. The chemicals involved in perceiving ethnic backgrounds overlap with those for processing emotion and making decisions, according to new research.