PerspectiveNeuroscience

Exploiting sleep to modify bad attitudes

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Science  29 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6238, pp. 971-972
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab4048

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Summary

Since the age of enlightenment in the 18th century, liberty and equality have spread across the Western world, leading to a decline in explicit racism and sexism. Nevertheless, the tendency to hold implicit prejudices of race or gender continues to drive discrimination (1, 2). Indeed, recent news has been filled with reports on the rise of nationalistic groups, excessive police violence against minority group members, persisting unequal pay for women, and sexual harassment all across the developed world. On page 1013 in this issue, Hu et al. (3) show how such unwanted attitudes may be persistently changed by a social counterbias training when the fresh memories of this training are systematically reactivated during sleep after training.