Sleep takes us to a realm of fantasy and makes our bodies recover from the hard energy losses over the day. A new study finds that sleep is crucial to unlearning all the information we have committed to memory without a thorough quality control check. It seems that sleep helps us unlearn racial and gender biases, as researchers point out.
When asleep, the body regenerates both physically and psychologically from all the bulk we gathered over the day, making oblivion easy on the mind and spirits and regenerating our system of beliefs, thoughts and misconceptions.
According to a new research, implicit biases about race, gender, ethnicity that you are not aware of owning but nevertheless color your reactions to people and situations, are laid down early and very hard to break.
Through sleep, things can change.
A new study was published on Thursday in Science and it reveals opinions coming from psychologists at Northwestern University, who support a new hypothesis about the special benefits of sleep. It seems that although a systematic retraining session could be efficient in undoing implicit biases, its impact is fleeting. With just a nap, sleeping provides a unique window for accessing and altering fundamental beliefs.
Sleeping clears the mind and organizes thoughts and beliefs according to relevance, making way for clean thoughts to appear and disorganized beliefs to stay in shade. Simply playing auditory cues while we’re sleeping seems to undo racial and gender biases and the effects are evident as time passes by. The study conductors have analyzed these beneficial effects a week later and the findings were supported by clear facts.
Our system of beliefs is seldom under our entire control, study reveals. All biases we gather over time can have consequences we are seldom aware of. For instance, when playing a game with instructions to shoot only people carrying weapons, researchers have found that some players are more likely to shoot unarmed black targets. Furthermore, another study reveals how professors who write recommendation letters are more likely to introduce elements of doubt when it comes to junior female researchers, a different approach from the cases when male subjects are involved. This is set to affect chances of employment for women as well as supporting racial biases in the previous video game example.
Here is where sleep comes to action. Overnight or over a decent nap, we can reconsider our mental behavior on equal terms, unchaining the misconceptions from our minds and starting from ground zero with clear thinking. The study especially targeted so-called implicit biases prone to shade the way we respond to people around us.
According to Project Implicit ran by Harvard psychologists, has revealed that 80% of people have misconceptions about elderly, have preference for white faces over black ones and also reveal gender misconceptions.
The demonstration of this particular sleep behavior was strengthened by 40 college students who were measured their levels of implicit bias around issues concerning gender and race.
Participants were placed before a keyboard and asked to react to paired words and images that underlined their misconceptions. When stimuli that fit obvious gender and racial stereotypes are readily processed, participants with high level of such misconceptions react quickly as opposed to the cases when information is inconsistent of prevailing stereotypes, thus people reacting slower as their beliefs mix into confusing results due to inconsistent perception.
After the bias exposure, study subjects were administered 30 minutes training sessions to counter the implicit biases and were instructed to press a key when image pairing and words went against stereotypes. When they responded accurately, participants were able to hear one or two distinct tones.
After this extended exposure to certain beliefs, patients went under a deep sleep session into a dark room equipped with a white noise generator and exposed to the tone associated with their earlier success in underlining gender bias. During sleep, researchers piped the tone associated with success in countering all stereotypes. After the sleep sessions, patients were facing low levels of racial or gender biases, showing that the training had been successful, with post-sleep effects that are translated into an extensive knowledge base, clarified during REM and strengthened with the help of outer stimuli. The effects were still strong a week later but as time passed by they had been shadowed by the old unconscious misconceptions.
This finding is relevant as to show us that sleeping fixes the relevant information into our brains and liberates the bulk from our minds. In important matter as gender, racial or social biases, sleep could enhance our general system of beliefs, in support of equality, equity and clarity when it comes to our vision over the mankind.
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