Our brains can consolidate new memories and even solve problems in our sleep–and new research suggests it’s possible to reduce gender and racial bias while we’re unconscious, too. A team of neuroscientists at Northwestern University had participants press a button marked “correct” when shown images that contradicted familiar stereotypes–for example, pictures of women along with science words, and pictures of African-American men alongside pleasant words. Pressing a button triggered a sound, which was then repeated while the participants took a 90-minute nap. When they woke up, they took tests measuring their implicit race and gender bias–and their levels of bias were almost 50 percent lower, on average, than before the nap.
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