We humans are social animals, naturally driven to form close-knit groups. All too often, though, these groups become partisan. They start to compete with one another. They become mutually hostile. Why does this happen? And what can be done to counter the tendency?
At this special Conduit webinar we unite an expert on polarisation, a behavioural scientist and a professional communicator to explain why we are so prone to be drawn into rival, often deeply antagonistic factions.
Drawing on research from their book Poles Apart: Why People Turn Against Each Other, and How to Bring Them Together they will pinpoint the economic and political triggers that tip people from healthy disagreement to dangerous hostility, and the part played by social media in spreading entrenched opinions.
By meticulously showing how and why polarisation affects every part of our lives -influencing everything from our friendship circles to our approach to health issues – they will illustrate the practical and effective steps we can all take to narrow divisions, build respect for others, and create a greater degree of common understanding.
Reviews of Poles Part:
“Asks the best question I have ever heard. And, critically, offers solutions. A must read.”
– Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman of Ogilvy UK.
“A fascinating and thought-provoking analysis of the divisions between us, how we bridge them, how we reshape the world – and ourselves too. Essential reading.”
– Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News
“A fascinating read, which will help anyone who wants to step out of the polarisation cycle and become part of the solution.”
– Jonathan Haidt, NYU-Stern School of Business, author of The Righteous Mind and The Happiness Hypothesis
“All my life I have been an impassioned advocate of technology. I believed it could connect the whole world, which it has largely done. What I and many others failed to see, was how those connections would then be used to divide and polarise us – for commercial and political gain. This is endangering our social institutions and democracy on which our dreams were based. It turns our own lives and sometimes, families, to the poles – into warzones. This is a pivotal moment for this book to be written, read and understood.”
– Peter Gabriel, musician
Ali Goldsworthy: Ali Goldsworthy has spent over 20 years active in politics and campaigning. A former Deputy Chair of the Liberal Democrats, she led the team that built the fastest growing campaigning organisation in the UK. In 2017 she was a Sloan Fellow at Stanford, creating its first depolarisation course and claiming numerous awards for her work. Ali has written for the Telegraph, Independent, New Statesman and Financial Times.
Laura Osborne: Laura Osborne is a professional communicator and change maker, with a background in public affairs and government communications. Currently Managing Director and a spokesperson at London First, the voice of London’s largest businesses, she was the UK Consumer Association’s first Head of Corporate Affairs, working with some of the UK’s biggest corporates to directly intervene to improve the banking, energy and telecoms markets for consumers.
Alex Chesterfield: Alex Chesterfield is a behavioural scientist with a Masters in Cognitive & Decision Science. She currently works in financial services, leading a team of psychologists to encourage consumers to make better decisions and drive ethical business cultures. For four years, she was an elected Councillor in Guildford for the Conservative Party and has personally experienced the effects of affective polarisation, both in and out of the workplace.
Sharath Jeevan is one of the world’s leading experts on reigniting our inner drive (intrinsic motivation). He founded and led STIR Education – arguably the world’s largest intrinsic motivation initiative. STIR has reignited the motivation of 200,000 teachers, 35,000 schools and 7 million children in emerging countries. Sharath is currently the Executive Chairman of Intrinsic Labs, which supports organizations all around the world to solve deep motivational challenges, from governments to leading UK universities and high-profile corporations. His work has been featured in the New York Times, the Economist, NPR, CNN, the Hindustan Times and the Times of India.