(Photo:Flickr/Lourdes Nightingale)

Researchers from the University of Kent say that mental simulation, which has been successfully used with athletes who want to see an improvement in performance, can also be used in combating social intolerance.

“The cognitive and neural systems used in remembering and imagining are surprisingly similar, which explains why repeatedly imagining oneself carrying out a certain behaviour can have a similar effect to actually carrying out that behaviour,” said author Richard Crisp. “This means that just as actual contact between social groups has been shown to promote tolerance, so too might mental exercises that emulate these successful interactions.”

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Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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