by Gareth Gaskell
Imagine being able to erase the innermost prejudices you are most ashamed of by simply turning on a sound machine before going to bed. It may sound fantastical, but a new study has shown that our biases can indeed be counteracted while we sleep.
Of course, most of us would contend that we are not racist or sexist. But many studies have shown that our actions suggest otherwise. For example, when evaluating applications for a science laboratory position, male applicants were viewed by university science faculty members as more hireable, competent and deserving of a high salary than identically qualified female applicants.
These biases are not surprising. We are often overwhelmed with information that can reinforce race and gender stereotypes.
In a new study, researchers built on our rapidly developing understanding of the way recent memories become ingrained in our mind during sleep. This “consolidation” process takes an unstable new memory and makes it stronger, and more resistant to forgetting, possibly changing its nature in the process.
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