Here’s how your brain can learn to be less racist

In 1968, the Polish-American psychologist Robert Zajonc conducted a landmark study at the University of Michigan. He recruited students and told them they’d be participating in a language-learning experiment, but this was just a cover for his true intentions. Instead, Zajonc began by showing them fake “Chinese” characters that he claimed signified various adjectives, then continued to display each character to his subjects over and over again, at various frequencies–some as many as 25 times, others just once or not at all. Finally, Zajonc asked each student volunteer to guess how positive or negative the definition of each adjective was (that is, did it represent a “good” trait or a “bad” trait) and how much they “liked” it.
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