Andy Luttrell & Jay Van Bavel , Opinion Science

#30: "Us vs. Them" with Jay Van Bavel

01 Feb 2021 • 31 min • EN
31 min
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Jay Van Bavel studies how our social identities shape the way we see ourselves and the people around us. He’s an associate professor of psychology at New York University. In an upcoming book, he and his colleague, Dominic Packer, present social identity theory. It’s a classic theory in social psychology that has inspired tons of research and continues to give insight into the modern world. At its root, it’s the idea that people often adopt an “us vs. them” mindset, which fuels lots of conflict between groups. In our conversation, Jay shares the basic tenets and controversies surrounding social identity theory and the direction his own research lab is going. For a quick overview of Social Identity Theory, featuring Dr. Van Bavel, you can check out this YouTube video [13:36] I made. Things we mention in this episode:Dominic Packer’s research on identity and dissent.The pioneering work of John Turner and Henri Tajfel and the development of social identity theory.Marilynn Brewer’s “Optimal Distinctiveness Theory”Jay’s research on how social identities affect our thought and behavior in domains like politics (e.g., Van Bavel & Pereira, 2018) and social media (Brady, Crockett, & Van Bavel, 2020).According to Facebook’s global creative director, Andrew Keller, the average person scrolls through 300 feet of mobile content a day.Lilliana Mason’s book (Uncivil Agreement) applying social identity to politics.   Check out my new audio course on Knowable: "The Science of Persuasion." For a transcript of this episode, visit: Learn more about Opinion Science at and follow @OpinionSciPod on Twitter. For a transcript of this episode, visit this episode"s page at: Learn more about Opinion Science at and follow @OpinionSciPod on Twitter.

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