For Teachers & Book Clubs
On this page you’ll find resources for anyone who assigns The Righteous Mind in classes or Book Clubs.
[If you have written discussion questions for your book club or course, please send them to me and I’ll post them for others]
— The best video to assign early on, so that students can get an overview of the book and see what the author looks and sounds like, is the Bill Moyers interview. And to start things off with humor, the Colbert interview. But there are many other videos here.
— The best assignment I’ve ever given, as a teacher, is to ask my students to do “moral fieldwork” — to spend time in a different moral community (i.e., visit a fundamentalist church, or a communist party meeting), and then explain the moral matrix they find there. Here’s the assignment sheet from when I last taught moral psychology at UVA.
— Swarthmore College held 4 school-wide symposia on the book
Here’s a list of videos or other materials that you can assign along with each chapter. [in progress]
1) Where Does Morality Come From?
— Here’s a 2 minute video showing people’s immediate reactions to the “harmless-taboo” violations I used in a study I did on sexual morality violations (Haidt & Hersh, 2001). The video was made by a group of students at Ohio State in Amy Bonomi’s course on human sexuality, where they replicated the study. It was produced by Thom Tyznik. I mention this study briefly in ch. 7, but you can think of it as an extension of my dissertation studies presented in chapter 1. (Warning, the stories are about sexual perversions.)
— Here’s a 9 minute video made by students in a nursing class that recreated the dumbfounding interviews, showing great spontaneous reactions, and then summarizes the rest of the book very clearly.
–Here’s a 2 minute video by Steve Gerber, on the role of disgust in morality, and on moral dumbfounding.
2) The Intuitive Dog and Its Rational Tail
— Video (2 min) by Steve Jacobs describing moral dumbfounding, and the debate over whether we should listen to disgust.
— Video (2 min) from Jimmy Kimmel Live, of people confabulating about “who won last night’s presidential debate”, even though the interviews were conducted several hours BEFORE the second presidential debate.
— Video (7 min): 1943 Disney World-War II progaganda film on “reason vs. emotion,” urging Americans to let reason rule, so that America can win the war against the fascists, who let emotion rule. This is a great animated brief for the Platonic model of the mind (which I argue against in chapters 2-4).
3) Elephants Rule
— Video (13 minutes): 60 Minutes report on the Hamlin, Wynn, & Bloom studies of babies choosing the nice/helpful puppets, as described in sub-section 5, “Babies feel but don’t reason.” This is great evidence that the Care/harm foundation is innate. Also hints of the Fairness/cheating and Loyalty/betrayal foundations.
4) Vote for Me (Here’s Why)
5) Beyond WEIRD Morality
— Here’s the original “WEIRD people” paper. (for advanced college classes only)
6) Taste Buds of the Righteous Mind
— Video (28 min): A talk I gave at an Edge.org conference on “moral science,” where I first presented the “True Taste” metaphor, and an overview of the state of the art in moral psychology.
7) The Moral Foundations of Politics
— My first talk at TED (2008): The moral roots of liberals and conservatives.
8) The Conservative Advantage
— What the Tea Partiers really want (Wall St. Journal, 10/16/10)
9) Why Are We So Groupish?
— My second talk at TED (2012): Religion, evolution, and the ecstasy of self-transcendence.
10) The Hive Switch
— My talk at TED 2012: Religion, evolution, and the ecstasy of self-transcendence.
— Hive psychology and the moral life of organizations. Authors@Google talk
11) Religion Is a Team Sport
— This is the most sociological chapter. Sociology professors might want to assign this review of the book, by Steve Vaisey. Teachers who would like to find critiques of the chapter from religious readers can find some here.
12) Can’t We All Disagree More Constructively?
— My talk at The Miller Center (UVA): Civility in American Politics: How to get (some of) it back. (3/19/12).
— Three Friends at Dinner, a humorous 2 minute video by Bob Ewing showing how a liberal, a conservative, and a libertarian will shift into 2-vs-1 coalitions on so many issues: the NSA, patriotism, taxes, etc.
—Political development in one cartoon. A Brazilian law student illustrated the process by which fraternal twins can end up so different, politically.
— Here is a whole page of discussions of the book, in the context of specific political and moral controversies