Community Speaker Series to Honor the 50th Anniversary of May 4

Thursday, December 5, 2019 -
7:00pm to 9:00pm

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Community Speaker Series to Honor the 50th Anniversary of May 4

Can Science Help to Heal Our Divided Nation?

On May 4, 1970, four students were shot and killed by National Guard troops on the campus of Kent State University. This event served a pivotal role during a tumultuous time for our country and has continued to have a lasting impact throughout the community.  As the 50th anniversary approaches, the Department of Psychological Sciences is commemorating the tragedy and continuing the university-wide mission to prevent violence and promote democratic values established in its aftermath through a special interactive speaker series. We are partnering with the local radio station, WKSU, to host two events for KSU students and the surrounding community that will help to facilitate a better understanding of issues relating to living in a polarized world and promoting tolerance and understanding through the lens that psychological science is uniquely positioned to provide.  We will host events exploring why political polarization has become the norm, how people can foster empathy and resilience, and why emotions cloud our judgment. Speakers will deliver TED-style talks and then participate in a moderated discussion that allows for audience participation and open dialogue.  WKSU will broadcast each event and plans to conduct advance interviews to generate additional content and community engagement.

Brief descriptions of the planned events appear below. 

How Science Can Help: Fostering Connection in a Fractured World
12/5/2019 at 7:00p, KIVA

Social media and the 24-hour news cycle have contributed to a national climate that is more polarized than ever. The rates of depression and anxiety have skyrocketed.  People report being more isolated than at any time in history. Is this the new normal? Cutting-edge research shows that empathy and social connection is still possible, even after tragedy. Talks will provide concrete suggestions for how parents and teachers can help children to thrive and how we all can learn to be kind to others.  

Dr. Mary Dozier is a developmental psychologist at the University of Delaware and creator of a program that boosts resilience and connection in at-risk children.  She will discuss techniques for developing connections between parents and children.

Dr. Jamil Zaki is a social neuroscientist at Stanford University and author of the upcoming book The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World. His argument that empathy is a skill that we can all strengthen through effort serves as an “inspiring call to action.”

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