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Do politics make us irrational? - Jay Van Bavel

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  • 7,024 Questions Answered
  • TEDEd Animation

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Can someone’s political identity actually affect their ability to process information? The answer lies in a cognitive phenomenon known as partisanship. While identifying with social groups is an essential and healthy part of life, it can become a problem when the group’s beliefs are at odds with reality. So how can we recognize and combat partisanship? Jay Van Bavel shares helpful strategies.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Jay Van Bavel
  • Director Patrick Smith
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Storyboard Artist Patrick Smith
  • Animator Patrick Smith
  • Compositor Patrick Smith
  • Art Director Patrick Smith
  • Sound Designer Patrick Smith
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Fact-checker Eden Girma
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Why can’t people get along? Humans easily identify with groups, from sports teams to political parties. This can be a source of companionship and cooperation, but it can also lead people to see the world different and believe in misinformation. This video will help you understand partisanship and provide strategies to reduce the appeal of fake news and propaganda.

To dig deeper here are links to relevant videos and a key article.

The first article, An Identity-based Model of Political Belief, briefly describes the research behind the TED-Ed video. Specifically, it explains how identities impact beliefs and strategies that might be helpful in reducing susceptibility to misinformation and fake news.

The video, The Dangers of the Partisan Brain, summarizes the contents of the article in a presentation by the first author. It provides a vivid demonstration of these issues and why they are relevant to political issues like gun control, climate change and vaccination.

How to have better political conversations, explains one strategy for communicating with an audience who is different from you in terms of their politics. By understanding and using language that appeals to the moral values of your audience, you might have more impact persuading people to change their beliefs.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Jay Van Bavel
  • Director Patrick Smith
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Storyboard Artist Patrick Smith
  • Animator Patrick Smith
  • Compositor Patrick Smith
  • Art Director Patrick Smith
  • Sound Designer Patrick Smith
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Fact-checker Eden Girma
  • See more