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Want to explore the academic research that inspires Civic Health Project?

 

Our work is informed by experts from the fields of psychology, sociology, philosophy, political science, behavioral science, and economics.

 

Below we spotlight some of the leading-edge academic research into the human behavioral traits that shape our political decision-making and civil discourse.

Research

Moral Foundations Theory

One of the most powerful theories shaping today’s understanding of civic discourse is Moral Foundations Theory, popularized by Jonathan Haidt through his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion and validated through hist team's extensive, ongoing survey-based research.

 

Moral Foundations Theory states that human values can be categorized according to several distinct "moral pillars.” By understanding how a person ranks the relative importance of these pillars, we can also understand how that person is likely to lean in terms of politics and religion.

Why is Moral Foundations Theory important?

By understanding our own and others’ moral foundations, we can increase empathy and tolerance, restore civic discourse, and improve human interactions across ideological divides.

How can Moral Foundations Theory improve our civic health?

Visit our Online Clinic to better understand Moral Foundations Theory, and to learn how to apply it in your daily interactions with others.

Cognitive Bias Theory

Humans are susceptible to a wide range of cognitive biases, many of which impair our ability to form opinions, engage in interactions, and make rational decisions as required of all citizens in a democracy.


An extensive body of research surrounds the 100+ cognitive biases most frequently exhibited by humans, including several biases that help explain our tendencies to stake out extreme and divisive viewpoints.

 

Cognitive bias theory has been popularized in several recent books including Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald, and Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer Eberhardt.

Why is Cognitive Bias Theory important?

By understanding our own and others’ cognitive biases, we can contain their influence on civic and political discourse, increase the power of facts and evidence, and drive more rational decision-making.

How can Cognitive Bias Theory improve our civic health?

Visit our Online Clinic to better understand Cognitive Bias Theory, and to learn how to apply it in your daily interactions with others.