Podcast Of The Week: Understanding The Psychology Of Our Political Biases

Lilliana Mason’s new book, Uncivil Agreement, is now on my reading list. That is thanks to this David McRaney interview on the You Are Not So Smart podcast.

I’m fascinated by the research around how our own identity shapes our biases, which in turns forms both our opinions and which explanations we latch onto. Mason explains that “Our conflicts are over who we think we are, rather than reasoned differences of opinion.”

The social media landscape has modernized the problem, and she gives us a peek behind the psychological curtain.

The concepts surrounding how we have multiple internal identities, intuitively associate ourselves with groups and immediately become protective of them, and will work to rationalize personal and group identities in creative ways are essential.

If we are trying to help/persuade people at work, at home, or socially in general – this research matters greatly. The key word in that sentence is “trying.” Do or do not. Those that aren’t aware, do not, those that are, do.

Pay extra attention to her points about inclusion and exclusion, categorization, how we defend whichever self-feels the most under threat at any time, and her model of issue-based vs. identity-based polarization/sorting/ideology.

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