Study Finds That Brain Impulses Can Indicate Implicit Racial Bias

4.coverResearch by scholars at New York University and the University of Geneva examined differences in brain activity when test subjects were shown photographs of Black and White faces.

The researchers first surveyed test subjects to determine their level of implicit negative attitudes on race. They then monitored impulses in the area of the brain involved in face perception of the test subjects when they were shown photographs of Black and White faces. The results showed that the researchers could accurately predict the race of the person in the photograph by monitoring the brain activity of test subjects who had been shown to have a high level of negative racial attitudes. In contrast, there was no measurable difference in brain activity for test subjects who did not test for a high level of implicit racial bias.

Tobias Brosch of the University of Geneva, stated, “These results suggest it may be possible to predict differences in implicit race bias at the individual level using brain data.”

The research was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the Seaver Foundation, and the Swiss National Science Foundation. The paper, “Implicit Race Bias Decreases the Similarity of Neural Representations of Black and White Faces,” was published in the journal Psychological Science. The article may be accessed here.


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