Political Divide Blog Post

Introduction/Background: In Psychology of the Political Left and Right, Sasha Kimel challenges her students to create a blog post that helps develop their awareness of how the political divide affects one's psychological processes, like behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and more.
Goal/s: The goal was to get students to develop their awareness of how the political divide affects their own and/or others’ psychological processes (behaviors, thoughts, feelings) while simultaneously applying the course content to these observations.

Procedure: Students completed a blog similar to the below (this was given as an example):
  • Individuals involved: Older man (in his 70’s) who self-identified as a Democrat and younger Progressive grad student-aged guy from Austin. The individuals just met.
  • Context: On the airplane to Boston from Austin. I was sitting next to the two individuals listed above and overheard their conversation.
  • Event: The older man noticed the younger man’s sticker on his laptop that said: “Come on…If Liberals really hated America, We’d vote Republican!” and exclaimed: “Yup, that’s darn right. Those republicans are ruining our country…They let the corporations and power-hungry exploit the rest of us and don’t give a darn about making them pay a dime!”. There conversation continued about how the inanity of the Right and how they are so “selfish”. 
  • Analysis: What the individuals above are having a difficult time seeing is that the Right is also concerned about fairness. As Haidt’s (2013) research suggests, both sides value Fairness, yet each values it in different ways. While the Left thinks about Fairness in terms of equality and social justice, the Right tends to think about Fairness in terms of proportionality. For those on the Right, Fairness tends to be centered on the belief that people should be rewarded for what they contribute (see page 138). From this view,…(continue with more analysis and by providing another reference).
Follow-up: Students provided comments online to their blog and also discussed the blogs in class.

Comments: The activity allows students to apply the course content to real-world situation and see how it affects their daily life. The instructor found the blog tool on Harvard's course tools helpful. She also suggests requiring a blog one time a week rather than every other week. 


Materials/Resources: Course sources that were read