June 3, 2005
Blacks, Whites Fear Blacks Equally
News/Comment; Posted on: 2005-06-03 23:23:37 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
UCLA study shows brain senses who's dangerous, who's not

by Alex Wells

Recent scientific research may have provided an explanation for Jesse Jackson's "racist" feelings. In 1993 the Black leader confessed: “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery—then look around and see somebody White and feel relieved.”

According to a report published in Nature Neuroscience on May 8, Blacks and Whites respond in very similar numbers (63 percent for Blacks, 64 percent for Whites) with expressions of alarm as measured in changes in the amygdala, the center in the human brain that arms the body against perceived threats, when viewing photographs of Blacks. Responses to similar pictures of Whites evoked much lower indicators of stress, according to Professor Matthew D. Lieberman, who headed the team that conducted the study at the University of California in Los Angeles. Not a single participant in the experiment perceived the White photos as more threatening than those of the Blacks.

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