Can lemonade prevent prejudice?

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Prejudice and stereotyping cause social problems and intergroup tension. The current work examined whether bolstering self-control by giving participants glucose would reduce stereotype use for an impression formation task. Previous work has demonstrated that self-control depends on biologically expensive brain processes that consume energy derived from glucose in the bloodstream. In the current study, glucose was manipulated via lemonade sweetened with either sugar or Splenda. Compared to the control group, the participants in the glucose condition used fewer stereotypes when writing an essay about a day in the life of a gay man. In addition, high-prejudice participants in the glucose condition used fewer derogatory statements in their essays than high-prejudice participants in the control condition. The findings are discussed in terms of the importance of self-control resources in the effective regulation of prejudice and stereotyping.

Source: “Stereotypes and prejudice in the blood: Sucrose drinks reduce prejudice and stereotyping” from Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 45, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 288-290

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