• Bridging the Gap with Linda Tropp

    Air Dates: January 27-February 2, 2020

    Many people today can mock appeals for understanding between partisans with the phrase, “can’t we all just get along?” For Dr. Linda Tropp however, understanding the dynamics of inter-group conflict and facilitating positive dialogue has become her life’s work. 

    Tropp is a professor of social psychology at the University of Massachusetts and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Her research focuses on expectations and outcomes of intergroup contact, interpretations of intergroup relationships, and responses to prejudice and disadvantage. She has been a visiting scholar at the National Center for Peace and Conflict Studies in New Zealand, the Kurt Lewin Institute in the Netherlands, the Marburg Center for Conflict Studies in Germany, Pontificia Universidad Católica in Chile, the University of California, Berkeley, and the International Graduate College on Conflict and Cooperation, where she taught seminars and workshops on prejudice reduction and intervention.  Tropp has worked with national organizations to present social science evidence in U.S. Supreme Court cases on racial integration, on state and national initiatives to improve interracial relations in schools, and with non-governmental and international organizations to evaluate applied programs designed to reduce racial and ethnic conflict. She received the 2012 Distinguished Academic Outreach Award from the University of Massachusetts Amherst for excellence in the application of scientific knowledge to advance the public good.  She has co-authored and edited several books, including “When Groups Meet: The Dynamics of Intergroup Contact.”

    On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Tropp describes her research on how group membership affects how we see and experience our relations with other people.  She says that our perceptions of the world around us are a function of our lived experience, and if we’re accustomed to one way of life, we are prone to think our way is the right way, or the only way.

    “Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 4:30 a.m. & 11:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

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