Educating the Public on Evidence-based methods for improving inter-group civility.

Understanding the Other Side

On this page you’ll find readings and resources that we think are particularly helpful for fostering mutual understanding across the political divide. [note: not updated since 2011]

To help liberals understand (and be civil to) conservatives:

Videos [to come]

Other Online Resources:

  • Read this paper on the psychological foundations of morality and ideology, by Jon Haidt and Jesse Graham.
  • Read Ch. 9 of The Happiness Hypothesis, on the psychological dimension of divinity, which tries to explain what many religious people find objectionable about a purely secular culture.
  • Read this article on the lack of ideological diversity in psychology, and why the exclusion of conservatives harms the scientific and pro-social missions of psychology: Redding, R.E.  (2001).  Sociopolitical diversity in psychology: The case for pluralism.  American Psychologist, 56, 205-215. [link to come]


  • James Ault, Spirit and Flesh. (On the moral world of a “religious right” community, interpreted by a sympathetic liberal sociologist).
  • Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot. (One of the founding works of modern conservative thought).


  • Born Again: Life in a fundamentalist Baptist church. (James Ault’s documentary about the church he describes in Spirit and Flesh)
  • Here’s are lists of the best movies of all times that illustrate conservative lessons or ideals: From National Review, and from  The Telegraph (UK) [posted by Haidt, with thanks to Carrie Rickey]

To help conservatives understand (and be civil to) liberals:


Other Online resources

  • Anthony Appiah, “The Seven Habits of Truly Liberal People.” (A review in Slate magazine of Alan Wolfe’s Future of Liberalism, which briefly summarizes what it means to be a liberal in 2009, while looking back to the long history of liberalism and its many meanings over the years.)
  • Nick Bromell, “The Liberal Imagination of Frederick Douglass.” In The American Scholar.
  • [we need more here: what essays can transmit the essential insights of liberalism in a way that will appeal to conservatives? Please send suggestions to haidt at]


  • Anthony Appiah, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a world of strangers. (On how diverse modern societies can keep some of the richness of traditional ways and identities while avoiding the ugliness of identity politics.)
  • Alan Wolfe, The Future of LIberalism. (On the history and future of liberalism, particularly its passionate commitment to two ideals: liberty and equality)

To help everyond understand libertarians, who are often ignored because they don’t fit on the left-right spectrum:

  • Rvi Iyer, et. al.: The largest study ever done of how libertarians differ, in values and personality traits, from liberals and conservatives.
  • Jason Brennan: Libertarianism: What everyone needs to know.

Do you have a suggestion for an essay or other resource on the Web that can promote understanding and civil politics? Please email it to haidt at

–This page is maintained by Jonathan Haidt

Our goal is to educate the public about social science research on improving inter-group relations across moral divides.