Sonia Ghumman, an assistant professor of management in the College of Business at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, recently completed a study which showed that a lack of sleep can result in a greater propensity to engage in racial prejudice and stereotyping behavior.
Dr. Ghumman showed resumes of prospective job applicants to 400 undergraduate test subjects who had been awake for varying periods of time. Some of the resumes had names that hinted of the race of the prospective job applicant. The results showed that the sleepier the test subject, the more likely they were to rate candidates with Black-sounding names unqualified for the position.
Dr. Ghumman stated, “We found that sleep functions as a self-regulatory resource that, when depleted, leaves people less able to control their thoughts, attitudes and behaviors in a non-prejudicial manner. By having a good night’s sleep and being well-rested, individuals are more likely to be able to act appropriately in situations.”
The research was published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. The article can be found here.