Could a pill cure racism?

Volunteers given the beta-blocker scored lower on a standard psychological test of "implicit" racist attitudes, researchers from Oxford University, UK, found.

The finding raised the “tantalising possibility” that racial attitudes could be modulated using drugs, a concept which raised ethical issues, Australia’s Professor Julian Savulescu, a co-author, said.

The study found the 18 individuals in the intervention group were less racially prejudiced at a subconscious level  compared to the 18 in a group receiving placebo,  the authors said .

Scientists believe the discovery can be explained by the fact that racism is fundamentally founded on fear, as propranolol 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.

Experimental psychologist Dr Sylvia Terbeck (PhD), who led the study, said the results offered new