March 28, 2019
It’s hardly a secret that the hyper-partisan nature of contemporary American politics has become a major obstacle to compromise between Democrats and Republicans and a contributor to rampant public distrust of our government. How have we arrived at such a low point? Scholar Peter Ditto argued that genuine differences in the moral sensibilities of liberals and conservatives have infused our politics, biasing how we interpret the world around us to the point where liberals and conservatives no longer recognize the same facts.
Ditto outlined this argument and offered his thoughts on how we can promote civil, rational political discourse despite this environment in a lecture at the University of New England’s Center for Global Humanities titled, “The Psychology of Political Polarization.”
Ditto, who earned his Ph.D. at Princeton University, is currently a professor of psychology and social behavior in the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine. His research into how motivation, intuition, and emotion shape our social, political, moral, medical, and legal judgments has been published in leading scientific journals such as Psychological Science, Perspectives on Psychological Science, and Science. In addition, he is co-founder of the data collection website YourMorals.org and serves on the board of advisors for Civilpolitics.org. As the title of his upcoming lecture implies, his current research focus is partisan bias, political polarization, and the moral and psychological underpinnings of the “culture war” in today’s American politics.
This was the tenth event of the 2018-2019 season at the Center for Global Humanities, where events are always free, open to the public, and streamed live online.
The Center for Global Humanities offers lectures by leading scholars to help us better understand the challenges besetting our civilization and outline new solutions for nations and peoples to live together without prejudice. Global in perspective, the Center’s lectures are streamed live on the Internet, allowing our speakers to answer questions from any country. Because the Center believes in the vital necessity of a humanities culture to civic and democratic life, it works closely with the local community to encourage reading, discussion, and debate. The Center was founded in 2009 by UNE scholar Anouar Majid, Ph.D., who serves as its director.