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But one of the bigger take-aways of that experiment was that when people were already made to feel disgusted by the gross images, they were more likely to elicit a strong reaction against interracial couples.
It’s a warning, Skinner said, that this country has not gotten rid of its bias against interracial romance.
Researchers found that the insula, a part of the brain that registers disgust, was highly active when participants viewed the photos of the interracial couples, but was not highly engaged when viewers saw the images of same-race couples, whether they were white or black.
“There’s a significant difference between the activation of the insula between interracial and same-race couples,” Skinner said.
Researchers surveyed students at the University of Nebraska — young people, not those who grew up in a more overtly racist time — and recorded their brain activity while they looked at pictures of hundreds of couples.Research that involves couples outside the United States has been excluded, as have biographical, fictional, and sensationalized accounts of interracial relationships.When it comes to interracial dating, the people who’ve been there will tell you there can definitely be struggles.While sitting in front of a computer, the photos of mixed-race and same-race couples were randomly shown to participants.
They were told that they had to quickly respond to whether the couple should be “included” or “excluded” from a future study on relationships by pressing a button that corresponded to each answer.
Read More: Thurgood Marshall’s interracial love: ‘I don’t care what people think.