Many white medical students and residents hold false beliefs about biological differences between black and white people that may contribute to racial disparities in pain assessment and treatment, according to two related studies reported this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Half of white medical students and residents and 73% of white lay people participating in the studies identified at least one of 11 false statements about biological differences as “possibly,” “probably” or “definitely” true. The measuring instrument included statements such as “black people have less sensitive nerve-endings” or “black skin is thicker than that of whites.” Participants then read mock medical cases about black and white patients with kidney stone or ankle fracture injuries, and were asked to estimate their pain on a traditional 11-point medical scale and recommend a pain medication. Participants with more false beliefs about racial biological differences were more likely to rate the black patient’s pain lower and less likely to recommend an accurate pain treatment for the black patient. Previous research has shown that black patients are more likely to be undertreated for pain.