Many of us have had the experience of losing our temper and acting emotionally in a discussion. Beverly B. Palmer, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, explains strategies for maintaining composure and conducting quality discussions.
4 science-based strategies to tame angry political debate and encourage tolerance
According to a December 2019 poll conducted by Public Agenda, USA Today, and Ipsos, more than 90% of Americans believe it is important to reduce political conflict Beverly B. Palmer explains how most people want to stop people from turning on each other in debate Clearly, most people want to stop antagonizing each other in arguments, so he recommended adopting the following four psychological approaches to solving the problem.
1: Interact on a regular basis.
According to Beverly B. Palmer, avoiding interactions with people who have different opinions can lead to prolonged conflict. In order to solve this problem, you should actively interact with such people. Beverly B. Palmer especially recommended small-group interactions with people who share similar interests, such as book readings, volunteer activities, and meetups.
Beverly B. Palmer cited research that shows that simply interacting with others does not always result in a cooperative exchange, and she suggested that “to build real connections you need to show respect while addressing common issues,” she says.
2: Find points of agreement.
Beverly B. Palmer commented that talking about differences can lead to controversy, but talking about points of agreement can lead to a deeper understanding of others, and she explained that it is important to “look for points of agreement” in discussions. Citing the example of a “debate about how to protect America from terrorism,” he said that if one person argues that the best thing to do is to severely restrict immigration, then refuting that person’s argument will result in an emotional debate. In such a case, he recommended asking the question again about the point of agreement, “How to protect America from terrorism,” and encourage them to find other ways together.
According to Beverly B. Palmer, everyone wants to be “heard” and tends to repeat their arguments if they are not heard. For this reason, Palmer said it is vital that you “listen to the other person’s point of view” yourself.
He also said that when listening to the other person’s arguments, it is important to listen without judgment, while striving to remove your own biases. Beverly B. Palmer said, “Showing empathy does not mean that you agree with what someone else is saying. Showing empathy is about reassuring the other person that you have heard them before you express your own opinion,” he said, explaining that it is important to reassure the other person by listening.
In addition to reassurance having the effect of facilitating the discussion, empathy also begets empathy, so in Beverly B. Palmer’s opinion, “If you show compassionate understanding to others, they will show compassionate understanding back to you. One technique for doing so, says Beverly B. Palmer, is to “take a deep breath and pause when the other person says something, and then review your thoughts before you speak.
4: Don’t believe everything you read in the media.
With so much fake news floating around, including on social networking sites, Beverly B. Palmer argued that one should not “believe everything you see or hear. He recommended not sharing fake news if you think it is fake.
Beverly B. Palmer commented that if you see someone spreading fake news, you should not challenge them to an argument, but show them how to fact check the information. He also said that in order to have a positive impact on others, we should first change ourselves.