US studies: break down prejudices while sleeping

US studies: break down prejudices while sleeping

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Prejudices can be broken down while you sleep
Even if it is actually frowned upon today to make racist or sexist statements, such prejudices are still deeply rooted in most people. According to a study from the USA, however, they can be broken down by special training - and that while sleeping.

Racist and sexist prejudices are common
“Women cannot park!”, “Men cannot show their feelings!”, “Blacks have a rhythm in their blood!” Racist and gender clichés should have long been a thing of the past, but such prejudices are still widespread. Often people are not really aware of this. This is shown, for example, by the discussion in the Netherlands, where there is debate as to whether it is racist to disguise yourself as “Zwarte Piet” (“Black Peter”). According to a US study, however, it doesn't seem that difficult to break down prejudices and become a “good person”. According to the study, certain stereotypes can at least be reduced if you undergo special training and target the subconscious during sleep.

Can long-term thinking patterns be changed?
Researchers have already found that certain memories can be reactivated and strengthened during sleep. For example, a learning unit was linked to a sound or smell and this stimulus was reapplied to the test subjects during sleep. Later, what was learned could be accessed better. Similar investigations were carried out, among other things, for facts and emotions. Xiaoqing Hu from Northwestern University in Evanston and his team wanted to find out whether this could change long-standing thinking patterns. In doing so, they focused on racist and sexist prejudices.

White women and men had to take the test
For their study, the researchers selected 40 white men and women who initially completed a test that showed how much the test subjects were prone to certain sexist and racist prejudices. Each study participant then went through special training. A portrait of a person should be assigned to a term that contradicted her prejudice. For example, the face of a dark-skinned man should be assigned the term "sunshine" or a woman's face "mathematics". If the subjects correctly assigned image and term, a certain tone sounded depending on whether it was racism or sexism. "The common expectation is that a short, one-time intervention is not strong enough to have a lasting impact," Hu told the British "Dailymail". “It could therefore be better to do repeated sessions and extensive training. Nevertheless, our results show how learning - including this type of learning - depends on sleep. "

Stereotypes have been significantly reduced
In the next step, the participants took a 90-minute nap. During the deep sleep phase, the researchers played the subject's racism or sexism tone. Hu and his team then asked the subjects' prejudices again. As it turned out, the stereotypes, the associated sound of which was played during sleep, were significantly softened. The long-term thinking patterns had obviously changed as a result of the training. The change was still measurable a week after the trial. "Hu and his colleagues show the remarkable potential of targeted memory reactivation during sleep when it comes to changing deep-rooted habits," the news agency "dpa" quotes sleep researcher Jan Born from the University of Tübingen. Born also emphasizes, however, that there are still many uncertainties regarding the neurophysiological and psychological mechanisms of reactivation. For example, the influence of the learning environment is still open.

In sleep, man has no conscious consciousness
According to the sleep researcher, the risk that previously learned stereotypes will be regained may be much more pronounced. "Sleep is a state in which an individual is without conscious awareness and thus unprotected from suggestions," Born said. Therefore, ethical considerations should also be included in further research. Hu and his team want to “further develop the reactivation method while sleeping so that in the future people with bad habits such as smoking, selfish behavior or unhealthy eating habits may be able to change their behavior through training”. The researchers published their study results in the scientific journal Science. (ag, ad)

Author and source information

Video: Learn English While Sleeping Learn American English Practice Listening in English Everyday


  1. Ganos

    I think I make mistakes. We need to discuss. Write to me in PM, it talks to you.

  2. Lan

    It's a pity that I can't speak now - I'm late for the meeting. I'll be back - I will definitely express my opinion.

  3. Hadwin

    I consider, that the theme is rather interesting. Give with you we will communicate in PM.

  4. Itai

    I congratulate, what words ..., remarkable idea

Write a message