Here is the full transcript of social psychologist Robb Willer’s TEDx Talk: How to Fix Our Broken Political Conversations at TEDxMarin conference.
Robb Willer – Social psychologist
So you probably have the sense, as most people do, that polarization is getting worse in our country, that the divide between the left and the right is as bad as it’s been in really any of our lifetimes. But you might also reasonably wonder if research backs up your intuition.
And in a nutshell, the answer is sadly yes. In study after study, we find that liberals and conservatives have grown further apart. They increasingly wall themselves off in these ideological silos, consuming different news, talking only to like-minded others and more and more choosing to live in different parts of the country. And I think that most alarming of all of it is seeing this rising animosity on both sides. Liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, more and more — they just don’t like one another.
You see it in many different ways. They don’t want to befriend one another. They don’t want to date one another. If they do, if they find out, they find each other less attractive, and they more and more don’t want their children to marry someone who supports the other party, a particularly shocking statistic.
You know, in my lab, the students that I work with, we’re talking about some social pattern — I’m a movie buff, and so I’m often like, what kind of movie are we in here with this pattern? So what kind of movie are we in with political polarization? Well, it could be a disaster movie.