Happy Pi Day!

The OtherWise pill?

Propranolol_80mgThe book comes out in June.  Can the pill be far behind?

An Oxford University study has discovered that a popular blood pressure medication reduces people's unconscious racial bias.

Details of the study have been reported everywhere from the U.K.'s Daily Telgraph to Gizmodo so I won't repeat the details here, except to note that the sample size was quite small, all the participants were men, and no one knows if the effect was limited to racist attitudes or was more generalized.

However, the results are not too surprising on at least one dimension -- most bias springs from fear and, in addition to lowering blood pressure, the drug tested has been used to reduce anxiety and panic for years.

The drug acts both on nerve circuits that govern automatic functions such as heart rate, and the part of the brain involved in fear and emotional responses. So there may be a logical connection.

Can a drug to make people OtherWise be far behind?



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