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Thu Jan 3, 2013, 02:46 AM

Abstract: Propranolol Reduces Implicit Negative Racial Bias


Springer
Psychopharmacology
August 2012, Volume 222, Issue 3, pp 419-424,

Open Access

    Sylvia Terbeck,
    Guy Kahane,
    Sarah McTavish,
    Julian Savulescu,
    Philip J. Cowen,
    Miles Hewstone

Download PDF (164 KB) View Article

Abstract

Background

Implicit negative attitudes towards other races are important in certain kinds of prejudicial social behaviour. Emotional mechanisms are thought to be involved in mediating implicit “outgroup” bias but there is little evidence concerning the underlying neurobiology. The aim of the present study was to examine the role of noradrenergic mechanisms in the generation of implicit racial attitudes.

Methods
Healthy volunteers (n = 36) of white ethnic origin, received a single oral dose of the β-adrenoceptor antagonist, propranolol (40 mg), in a randomised, double-blind, parallel group, placebo-controlled, design. Participants completed an explicit measure of prejudice and the racial implicit association test (IAT), 1–2 h after propranolol administration.

Results
Relative to placebo, propranolol significantly lowered heart rate and abolished implicit racial bias, without affecting the measure of explicit racial prejudice. Propranolol did not affect subjective mood.

Conclusions
Our results indicate that β-adrenoceptors play a role in the expression of implicit racial attitudes suggesting that noradrenaline-related emotional mechanisms may mediate negative racial bias. Our findings may also have practical importance given that propranolol is a widely used drug. However, further studies will be needed to examine whether a similar effect can be demonstrated in the course of clinical treatment.


http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00213-012-2657-5
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propranolol#Off-label_and_investigational_use

- Conservatives filing a lawsuit demanding that this drug be declared illegal on the grounds of it's restriction of their interstate commerce rights in 5, 4, 3, 2......

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Reply Abstract: Propranolol Reduces Implicit Negative Racial Bias (Original post)
DeSwiss Jan 2013 OP
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #1
Care Acutely Jan 2013 #2
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #6
area51 Jan 2013 #3
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #5
DeSwiss Jan 2013 #7
DeSwiss Jan 2013 #8
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #17
LeftInTX Jan 2013 #4
SCVDem Jan 2013 #9
AverageJoe90 Jan 2013 #10
Scootaloo Jan 2013 #11
marions ghost Jan 2013 #15
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #18
marions ghost Jan 2013 #19
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #21
marions ghost Jan 2013 #22
marions ghost Jan 2013 #23
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #24
marions ghost Jan 2013 #25
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #26
marions ghost Jan 2013 #28
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #29
AverageJoe90 Jan 2013 #16
kooljerk666 Jan 2013 #12
mainer Jan 2013 #13
bamacrat Jan 2013 #14
meow2u3 Jan 2013 #20
MuseRider Jan 2013 #27

Response to DeSwiss (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 03:16 AM

1. this is the drug michael jackson died from. it's a beta-blocker, originally used for high blood

 

pressure, now being used for things like anxiety, as a sleep aid (in jackson's case), etc.

i'm really curious to know what the scientific purpose of the research you link was.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 03:47 AM

2. Um, NO. It isn't the same drug.

MJ died under a general anesthetic never meant to be used at home - propofol.

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Response to Care Acutely (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:12 AM

6. you're correct, i'm wrong.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 03:49 AM

3. Not propranolol.

I think you may be confusing the drug Michael Jackson died from --

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propofol

with propranolol. Note the different spelling.

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Response to area51 (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:11 AM

5. you're right, i'm wrong.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:17 AM

7. As per the Abstract:

'' The aim of the present study was to examine the role of noradrenergic mechanisms in the generation of implicit racial attitudes.''

This drug's chemical reaction affects the amygdala, having a calming effect which is why some actors use it for stage fright and some surgeons use it to steady their hands (!).

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Response to DeSwiss (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:20 AM

8. Yes the medical uses seem to be wide and varied:

Propranolol is indicated for the management of various conditions including:

Hypertension
Angina pectoris
Tachyarrhythmias
Myocardial infarction
Control of tachycardia/tremor associated with anxiety, hyperthyroidism or lithium therapy.
Essential tremor
Migraine prophylaxis
Cluster headaches prophylaxis
Tension headache (Off label use)
Shaky hands
Hyperhidrosis

There has been some experimentation in psychiatric areas:
Treating the excessive drinking of fluids in psychogenic polydipsia,
Antipsychotic-induced akathisia,
Aggressive behavior of patients with brain injuries
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Calming down individuals with phobias via sedative effects
Performance anxiety
Glaucoma
Thyrotoxicosis via deiodinase inhibition
Primary exertional headache

While once first-line treatment for hypertension, the role for beta-blockers was downgraded in June 2006 in the United Kingdom to fourth-line as they perform less well than other drugs, particularly in the elderly, and evidence is increasing that the most frequently used beta-blockers at usual doses carry an unacceptable risk of provoking type 2 diabetes.

Propranolol is also used to lower portal vein pressure in portal hypertension and prevent esophageal variceal bleeding and ascites.

link

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Response to DeSwiss (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:27 PM

17. what i'm curious is why they'd be investigating that topic at all and particularly the effect of

 

drugs in mediating it.

it strikes me as curious.

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Response to DeSwiss (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 03:51 AM

4. Common drug with off label uses

I was prescribed this for migraines when I was pregnant. (Safe to use during pregnancy)

I was also prescribed this for a bizaare case of burning feet many years later.

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Response to DeSwiss (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:57 AM

9. Yet another use for

Medical Marijuana.

Violent and high just don't go together.

Racism isn't on your mind, trust me.

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Response to DeSwiss (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 06:07 AM

10. You'll have to forgive me for being a tad skeptical, but.....

How exactly did they reach these conclusions? Sorry, but I'm not sure if I can buy this or not....are they implying that this drug directly caused a decrease in racial prejudice?

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 06:29 AM

11. It seems to relieve tension overall

And the study points towards adrenal response being a factor in prejudicial positions, more than this drug being some sort of "racism cure"

At least, I think that's what I'm reading.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #11)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:18 AM

15. Right

it slows the "fight or flight" fear response (adrenals) so that ingrained threats such as an irrational fear of "others" is lessened.

At the same time you have to wonder if some appropriate fears are lessened.

Propranolol does help with tachycardia and anxiety. But long-term usage has some side effects: Cardiovascular side effects are the most common, and include hypotension, bradycardia, exacerbation of Raynaud's phenomenon, atrioventricular block, and congestive heart failure (CHF).

Interesting study.

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #15)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:29 PM

18. yes, the effect is a general calming, not specific to 'racism'. you don't have to wonder.

 

but i wonder what the point of this study is, really.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #18)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 05:03 PM

19. Psycho-pharmacology

--The drug seems to lessen "implicit" (or more emotional) sense of threat--which is conditioned or learned. They do need to do more research on this, but the results are in medical terms, "promising."

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #19)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:46 PM

21. Promising for *what*? Will someone be mandating that racists take pills sometime in the future?

 

If they were, I'd be dead set against it.

I hesitate to leap to conclusions, but this feels a bit similar to some past questionable research of the past.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #21)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 08:32 AM

22. Yes--all Fox watchers should receive a complimentary dose--

it won't change their beliefs, they'll just be calmer about it.

I am not serious. The answer is--No, I don't think so.

At least there's no point in jumping to that conclusion unless you think there are no ethical standards in medical research. Mandating drugs to control certain behaviors without the subject's consent is obviously not ethical in most societies. As the study is designed it doesn't have much impact on actual behavior anyway. Nothing diabolical behind it IMO.

I'm familiar with this type of research, clinical trials, etc. There are all sorts of studies that probe the mind-body connection, with implications in identifying human responses. Many drugs now in use can modify emotions and behavior. More knowledge about what they do is better, in a society where people are free to choose their drugs or treatment. How commonly prescribed drugs modify mental states is useful to doctors. Physicians have already noted the effects of Propranolol, and baseline physiological measurements using scans have been established. Scans have already shown Propranolol affects the brain's amygdalae, which this study then links to psychological tests.

Racism is a construct involving a fear response linked to visual & emotional cues. Apparently it can be lessened by Propranolol's calming the amygdala* (actually there are two in the brain, right and left, and their activity differs in males and females). The interesting thing is that the drug affects "implicit" racial bias (subconscious), not "explicit" bias which is based on direct questions. So a person's instinctive negative reaction to seeing someone who looks middle eastern is lessened, while they may still maintain that they hate Muslims. Also interesting is the fact that a single oral dose is all it takes to see the change.

---------------

The more important SOCIAL, not physiological, question is how do the fearful prejudices get ingrained in the first place? That is the realm of Social Psychology. The study only confirms the areas of the brain that are influential in mediating the emotions around existing thoughts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amygdala

*This wiki page has some fascinating info about the amygdalae

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #21)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 08:37 AM

23. PS-- "Promising" in regard to medical studies

just means it can lead to more medical studies, possibly to a line of research to explore for effective therapy, and of course the word is always used to pitch schemes to drug company investors.

It does NOT mean that it will lead to any diabolical mind-control experiments. Leave that to Fox. MUCH more effective!

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #23)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 01:49 PM

24. medical studies of what? is racism now a disease? therapies for what? is racism now a mental

 

illness?

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #24)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 02:27 PM

25. Medical studies

having to do with the brain and the pathways for emotional responses and commonly observed behaviors.

As I said racism itself is a subject of social psychology & sociology. This psycho-pharmacological study explores how the amygdala moderates the ingrained fear-based set of beliefs known as racism and how an (amygdala suppressant) drug interacts with those pathways. I cant explain it better without doing a dissertation. No, the follow-up studies will not be calling racism a disease --it's a neuro-behavioral syndrome with a set of agreed upon characteristics. It is known that racism is an ingrained attitude that is tied to the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). An exact definition is debatable. Studying it is very different from any social experiment to eradicate it, however. That is not the point of the study. No need to get upset about it unless you want to shut down many avenues of legitimate investigation in psychology. You're extrapolating too much. Everyone has the seeds for developing racist attitudes. You change those by teaching & learning, not drugs.



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Response to marions ghost (Reply #25)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 02:56 PM

26. Racism is a learned behavior. The fact that it has neurological correlates is not worthy of drug

 

studies unless the ultimate aim of such studies is social control via drugs. And that is the ultimate aim, same as the drug studies of the 40s-70s, after which they were supposedly shut down, lol.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #26)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 05:36 PM

28. There are ethicists on the review board that allowed the research to occur at Oxford

In fact, as the researchers point out below --the whole point is to raise the question of ethics. No one is advocating this drug as any cure for racism. On the contrary, they are CONCERNED about the implications of selling medications that we don't know what the mental and moral side effects are. Read this--I think you'll see they are on your side, in a world where powerful drugs are rushed to market. If they don't convince you then I'm sure I can't.

-----------------

Sylvia Terbeck, lead author and experimental psychologist at Oxford University, said: 'Our results offer new evidence about the processes in the brain that shape implicit racial bias. Implicit racial bias can occur even in people with a sincere belief in equality. Given the key role that such implicit attitudes appear to play in discrimination against other ethnic groups, and the widespread use of propranolol for medical purposes, our findings are also of considerable ethical interest.’

She added: 'Many people with medical conditions are probably already on drugs which affect subconscious bias and more research is needed into how drugs which affect our nervous system affect our moral attitudes and practices.'

Professor Julian Savulescu of Oxford University’s Faculty of Philosophy, a co-author, added: 'Such research raises the tantalising possibility that our unconscious racial attitudes could be modulated using drugs, a possibility that requires careful ethical analysis.

‘Biological research aiming to make people morally better has a dark history. And propranolol is not a pill to cure racism. But given that many people are already using drugs like propranolol which have 'moral' side effects, we at least need to better understand what these effects are.'

This study is the result of a collaboration between Sylvia Terbeck and Miles Hewstone of the department of Experimental Psychology, Phil Cowen and Sarah McTavish of the Department of Psychiatry, and Guy Kahane and Julian Savulescu of the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.

http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2012/120803.html

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #28)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 04:28 AM

29. there were ethicists at abu ghraib.

 

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #11)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 02:47 PM

16. Well, okay then, that makes sense, then, I guess. n/t

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Response to DeSwiss (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 10:48 AM

12. I have taken this stuff before...........

 

it is relaxing & non addictive & did help my attitude.

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Response to DeSwiss (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 10:50 AM

13. Used for fear/anxiety symptoms. Conclusion? Racism is all about fear.

Which is something we knew about conservative minds in general. They are frightened people.

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Response to DeSwiss (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 10:55 AM

14. I used to take it, I used shake a lot.

Odd thing is is that I have really low BP.. Dr's were hesitant to put me on it, but worked fine. I did black out once when i stood up too fast.

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Response to DeSwiss (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 05:36 PM

20. Slip some of that in the teabaggers' tea

Maybe they'll vote Democratic!

BTW, HERE'S a way we can beat rethug gerrymandering.

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Response to DeSwiss (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 03:51 PM

27. A lot of my friends

in the symphony use it to calm themselves before concerts. I tried it once in a rehearsal. 5 mg and I passed right out. LOL, don't have problems with nerves most of the time anyway, been doing this way too long but if I did I would have to continue to suffer through them.

This is bizarre.

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