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Today in the United States and elsewhere we see the troubling effects of increasingly polarized political discourse: increased gridlock within government, the politicization and fragmentation of economic and social life, and the suppression of the spread of information and mutual learning across ideological lines. The causes and effects of polarization are too complex to be studied within the confines of a single discipline, and its exploration therefore requires participation and collaboration from scholars in many different fields.

The goal of this group is to further formulate key issues and a research agenda on the problem of polarization with the aim of establishing a broad and significant interdisciplinary research program involving the psychological, biological, and social sciences. Following several workshops over the past year aimed at building these interdisciplinary ties, the group aim to explore particularly how the internet provides a platform where the costs of verbal punishment are much less than in face-to-face communications, but the rewards might be substantial.

Recent Participants

Molly Crockett (Yale University), Michael Gazzaniga (University of California, Santa Barbara), Michael Lynch (University of Connecticut), Liz Phelps (New York University), Steve Sloman (Brown University), Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Duke University), and René Weber (University of California, Santa Barbara). 

The following people have also contributed to the working group’s mission:

Jordan Carpenter (Duke University), Leda Cosmides (University of California, Santa Barbara), Cynthia Farrar (Purple States, LLC), Daniel Henninger (The Wall Street Journal), Shanto Iyengar (Stanford University), David Krakauer (Santa Fe Institute), Ryan Oprea (University of California, Santa Barbara), Nathaniel Persily (Stanford University) and John Tooby (University of California, Santa Barbara).