I recently had the pleasure to speak at TEDx San Luis Obispo. My talk was called How to Win a Political Argument, and (*spoiler alert*) the idea I thought worthy of spreading is that we need to change the way we think about winning. Rather than considering winning to be about proving that you’re right and that the other person is wrong, reframing winning as strengthening a connection is a more effective approach to achieving your goals.

In my recently published book, Beyond Your Bubble, I wrote about how to bridge the political divide. Since that time, we have experienced a highly contentious presidential election, the storming of the U.S. Capitol, and ongoing political battles over voting, police use of force, and public health policy related to vaccines and masks. In other words, Beyond Your Bubble, was rather timely. I’ve had many opportunities to hear from many people about their attempts to dialogue across the political divide, and their frustration, pessimism, and distress are palpable. Knowing of approaches that are likely to improve both the process and the outcomes of these conversations, I have felt an urgency to share knowledge and skills that can help guide us to have more satisfying interactions with people who disagree with us politically. I hope the TEDx talk can help us get there. Take a look at it and let me know what you think.

Because it’s impossible to convey everything in a 12-minute talk, here are some supplemental resources:

And here are references for the studies I cited in How to Win a Political Argument:

  • Nickerson, R. S. (1998). Confirmation bias: A ubiquitous phenomenon in many guises. Review of General Psychology, 2(2), 175–220. https://doi.org/10.1037/1089-2680.2.2.175
  • Robinson, R. J., Keltner, D., Ward, A., & Ross, L. (1995). Actual versus assumed differences in construal: “Naive realism” in inter-group perception and conflict. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 404. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.68.3.404
  • Waytz, A., Young, L. L., & Ginges, J. (2014). Motive attribution asymmetry for love vs hate drive intractable conflict. PNAS, 111, 15687–15692. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1414146111
  • Westfall, J., Van Boven, L., Chambers, J. R., & Judd, C. M. (2015). Perceiving political polarization in the United States: Party identity strength and attitude extremity exacerbate the perceived partisan divide. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10, 145–158. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691615569849
  • Yudkin, D., Hawkins, S., & Dixon, T. (2019). The Perception Gap: How False Impressions Are Pulling Americans Apart. More In Common. Retrieved from https://perceptiongap.us/media/zaslaroc/perception-gap-report-1-0-3.pdf

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