Note: This course is on hold and expected to return for the fall 2020 semester.
The overarching goal of this research project is to develop interventions which can be applied on a broad basis in society (e.g. education systems, organizations, institutions) to improve civil disagreement in the public discourse. It will investigate psychological flexibility as a potential underlying cognitive process influencing behaviors in political contexts, and if interventions developed in clinical settings targeting it can be effectively applied in political contexts as well.
This research has important practical implications. If effective interventions to facilitate civil political discourse are developed, it could possibly curb the negative development with increased polarization and subsequent dysfunctional effects on the democratic system and society. In addition to increased psychological well-being on an individual level, constructive discussions mean that more focus and energy can be used to develop sustainable solutions to societal challenges. Moreover, it will contribute to the robustness of previous findings by testing them in a new setting. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), compassion research, and a behavioral analysis framework will be in focus, covering both individual and environmental factors influencing behaviors.