How criticizing divisive rhetoric on one’s own political side can help reduce polarization (on both sides)

We are at war largely with our instincts

We are afraid to question our group

We can be fearful of questioning our group even within ourselves

Conformity leads to extremity

An instinct to avoid doing things that might help the other side

  • We push our own group to become more rational, and more reasonable, and more persuasive and attractive to a wider range of people.
  • Because the other side’s anger and fear is based on their perception of the more extreme and unreasonable people on our side, in making our group more reasonable and more persuasive, we also reduce the fear and anger of people on the other side, which in turn reduces the fear and anger of people on our side.
  • We act as a model for people on the other side, to show how it can be done. We encourage others on the other side to do the same thing we are doing, to show how one doesn’t have to fit the stereotype of one’s group (in an episode of my podcast, polarization researcher Jaime Settle mentioned demonstrating our own complexity as a key strategy for reducing polarization)

We are more powerful than we know

A follow-up piece: criticisms of a specific social media account and thoughts on what we can all do better

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Have psych podcast “People Who Read People.” My research into online deception featured in NYT, WaPo, more. Wrote books on poker tells (translated 8 languages).

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Zachary Elwood

Zachary Elwood

Have psych podcast “People Who Read People.” My research into online deception featured in NYT, WaPo, more. Wrote books on poker tells (translated 8 languages).

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