|Tom Brady is no stranger to pain (source)|
This week in SWAG we read an article about racial biases in perceptions of others’ pain. The American medical field has a long history of racial bias (Note: I think if you switched the words “medical field” with almost any other field, the sentence would be factually accurate. For example, “mathematics field” or “psychology field” but not “magnetic field”). American blacks tend to be diagnosed less accurately by medical staff than whites, to receive less optimal health care, and to be cared for less intimately. The authors, led by Sophie Trawalter of the University of Virginia, wondered about the source of this racial bias. They reasoned that it might arise in part from a belief that low status groups experience less pain than other groups in society. Blacks and other traditionally low status groups in America are perceived as having overcome greater hardships throughout their lives. As a result of contending with, and overcoming these hardships, low status groups are perceived to experience less pain than their more advantaged counterparts—their tough circumstances have made them tougher. This racial bias in pain perception is theorized to underlie the black-white treatment gap in medicine.