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

Thursday, April 2, 2020 -
4:00pm to 6:00pm
KSU Ballroom

Save the Date!

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. 

Blinded by Outrage: When Emotions Hijack Reason
4/2/2020 at 4:00p KSU Ballroom

Is it possible to think clearly about something we feel strongly about? America has become hyperpolarized and any action –big or small, public or private – can be viewed as a declaration of social war. Media and technology bring outrage culture to our fingertips hundreds of times a day.  What can be done?  New research from leading psychologists shows how strong emotions impact the way we think about complex topics and how we act in our everyday lives.

Dr. Peter Ditto is a social psychologist at UC-Irvine and a leading expert in how our emotions distort reality and bias our judgment toward others. His research on partisan politics explains why compromise is so difficult and offers new insight into ways to get along.

Dr. Jennifer Lerner is a social psychologist at Harvard University and the U.S. Navy’s first Chief Decision Scientist. Her work draws on psychology, economics, and neuroscience to understand how powerful emotions like fear and anger drive our decision making and how understanding these emotions can facilitate better outcomes.

Learn More Information