In 2020, the Greater Good Science Center partnered with NationSwell and Einhorn Collaborative to produce a series of videos about some of the most exciting, science-based solutions to our social and political divisions. Here are some highlights from our partnership.
What Bad Party Guests Can Teach Us About Bridging Divides
Who is the perfect dinner guest? It is the person who tells the best story? Has the funniest joke? Interjects with a good anecdote?
Studies suggest that it’s none of those people. The best dinner guests are active listeners, not dominant talkers. They ask questions, don’t interrupt, and express interest and empathy in what they hear, making people feel supported and understood.
The research-backed skills of active listening can help build rapport and understanding when you’re having a communication breakdown.
What Happens When Political Opponents Get to Know Each Other?
What if we shifted our focus from the ways people are different, and looked at the ways that we’re similar?
It’s easy to get along with people who share our values. We naturally create “ingroups” with people who share similar goals, political views, or taste in music. Our ingroup becomes “us,” and anyone outside our group becomes “them.”
Is it possible to break down the barriers between us and them? The research-based “common ingroup identity model” says it is. Specifically, if we can find a point of similarity with someone, we’ll show less negative bias toward them.
We put two real people on camera to test this theory.
How to Hack Your Brain’s Prejudice with Veggies
One scientist’s vegetable experiment reveals a way to connect with people who are different from you…and you don’t even have to eat veggies.
Did you know that your brain has a built-in threat detector? It’s called the amygdala. When it works well, it protects you from danger, but it also creates unconscious bias—the stuff you don’t even know your brain is doing.
There’s good news. You can re-train your brain to reduce prejudice and bias—and all it takes is a few vegetables.
How to Shift From Hostility to Empathy in Political Conversations
Political conversations with someone whose views are different from yours are tough. But even the thorniest divide can be narrowed if we try a technique called “moral reframing.”
The technique allows you to identify the moral premise or values that matter to the other person and then present your idea in a way that makes sense to them. Watch this video and learn how to close divides in your politics…and beyond.
If Democracy Had a Sound, It Would Be Jazz
The best elements of jazz and democracy come together in the pursuit of common goals.
Jazz and democracy have more in common than you might think. At their best, they are both able to bridge differences and elevate diverse perspectives. We can use specific jazz techniques in our conversations to be more open and collaborative.
How to Protect Your Body from Social Media Stress
If you can feel your stress and anxiety levels rising while you use social media, you’re not alone. And even though your feed is completely digital, those negative feelings can actually have an impact on your physical health. Clenched jaws, tightened fists, and elevated heart rates are just a few ways that bad experiences with other people on social media can manifest in our bodies.
But a simple mindfulness exercise like inhaling deeply, listening to music, or taking a walk while paying attention to your surroundings can help combat that. At a time when social media use is surging due to the COVID-19 lockdown, it has never been more important to take care of yourself IRL while you spend more time online—and that means learning ways to find your center while you scroll.