WNPR Connecticut Hosts a Discussion of Civil Politics

As further proof that more and more Americans are beginning to see the lack of cooperation amongst politicians as a problem, the Colin McEnroe show of WNPR in Connecticut hosted a show entitled "What Drives Political Polarization" and invited me to be a guest, along with Kevin Smith of the University of Nebraska, and science journalist Chris Mooney.

All in all, I thought the show was thoughtful and interesting.  Kevin Smith, who preceeded me, talked some about the differences psychologists have found between liberals and conservatives, a topic which many of us at civilpolitics study as well.  However, in my brief segment (the last 10 minutes of the show), I tried to emphasize how our shared biology actually drives partisanship, and specifically the way that humans easily form groups that villainize and compete with other groups.  How can we combat this?  I proposed 2 ideas: positive contact with people of the opposite persuasion and an increased focus on shared goals, both of which are old ideas in social psychology that you can read about here.

The show is available via podcast and you can listen online if you're interested.  Thanks to all who produced the show for drawing attention to the topic!

– Ravi Iyer