Robb Willer: How to have better political conversations
Robb Willer - Social psychologist
Robb Willer's political research has investigated various topics, including economic inequality, racial prejudice, masculine overcompensation and Americans' views of climate change. Full bio
as most people do,
is getting worse in our country,
between the left and the right
in really any of our lifetimes.
if research backs up your intuition.
the answer is sadly yes.
have grown further apart.
in these ideological silos,
talking only to like-minded others
to live in different parts of the country.
most alarming of all of it
animosity on both sides.
don't like one another.
They don't want to date one another.
they find each other less attractive,
their children to marry someone
the students that I work with,
some sort of social pattern --
with this pattern?
with political polarization?
we're in a zombie apocalypse movie.
and destroy society.
in the zombie apocalypse movie,
it's being propagated by the other people,
to what we hold dear,
in the army of the undead.
they think they're in?
that they're the good guys
that they think that they're Brad Pitt
that we're all a part of this.
is that we can be a part of the solution.
at polarization in everyday life?
and communicate with
that I and my colleague, Matt Feinberg,
doing research on this topic.
that we discovered
for understanding polarization
is undergirded by a deeper moral divide.
in the history of political psychology
by Jon Haidt and Jesse Graham,
tend to endorse different values
tend to endorse values like equality
and protection from harm
values like loyalty, patriotism,
that maybe this moral divide
for understanding how it is
talk to one another
seem to talk past one another
to write a persuasive essay
in support of same-sex marriage.
tended to make arguments
of equality and fairness.
to love whoever they choose,"
as other Americans."
that 69 percent of liberals
moral values in constructing their essay,
one of the more conservative moral values,
to be trying to persuade conservatives.
and had them make persuasive arguments
the official language of the US,
much better at this.
conservative moral values,
invoked a liberal moral value,
to be targeting liberals for persuasion.
why we're in trouble here. Right?
they're their most deeply held beliefs.
to fight and die for their values.
just to agree with you
want to agree with you on anyway?
you're making to your Republican uncle
just have to change his view,
his underlying values, too,
that we call moral reframing,
in a series of experiments.
and conservatives to a study
of care and protection from harm.
"In many important ways
to the places we live in,"
that we take steps now
from being done to our Earth."
a really different essay
the conservative value of moral purity.
and skies pure is of vital importance."
to be disgusting."
can help us preserve
about the places we live."
to read just a nonpolitical essay.
so we could get a baseline.
it didn't matter what essay they read.
pro-environmental attitudes regardless.
for environmental protection.
of progressive environmental policies
one of the other two essays.
who read the moral purity essay
that they believed in global warming
didn't even mention global warming.
this moral reframing effect was.
of different political issues.
or national health insurance,
political issues to conservative values
to the right on conservative policy issues
the official language of the US,
policy issues to liberal moral values
have the same clear message:
someone on some policy,
to their underlying moral values.
it's something we really struggle to do.
to persuade somebody on a political issue,
as we rehearse our own reasons
some sort of political position.
these reframed moral arguments,
empathy and respect."
somebody in this country.
there's a white cop and a black cop,
to come together and they cooperate,
that they had to cross. Right?
than ever before.
where we are in this country,
of a buddy cop movie --
to come back together.
is going to start with us.
all the things that divide us.
because this hate and contempt
the very fabric of our society.
to let them hate us either.
that we owe our fellow citizens.
About the speaker:Robb Willer - Social psychologist
Robb Willer's political research has investigated various topics, including economic inequality, racial prejudice, masculine overcompensation and Americans' views of climate change.
Why you should listen
Robb Willer is a professor of sociology, psychology and organizational behavior at Stanford University. He studies the role of morality in politics. His research shows how moral values, typically a source of ideological division, can also be used to bring people together. His political research has investigated various topics, including economic inequality, racial prejudice, masculine overcompensation and Americans' views of climate change.
Willer has won numerous awards for his teaching and research, including the Golden Apple Teaching Award, the only award given by UC-Berkeley’s student body. Willer's class, "Self and Society," was the highest enrollment class at UC-Berkeley. His consulting clients have included the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, the Last Resort Exoneration Project and the Department of Justice.
Willer's writing has appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post, including his op-eds "The Secret to Political Persuasion" and "Is the Environment a Moral Cause?"
Willer received a Ph.D from Cornell University and a BA from the University of Iowa. Before becoming a professor, he worked as a dishwasher, construction worker, mover, line cook and union organizer.
Robb Willer | Speaker | TED.com