Illustration by Ailadi.

“Viewing a person as a member of a group has profound consequences on how people process information about others, feel about others, and act toward others.” -Dovidio, Gaertner and Saguy, 2009

Why do people hold prejudiced beliefs toward refugees and people seeking asylum? How can we develop communication strategies to engender more positive feelings toward refugees?

More than 40 years of research across a range of academic disciplines suggests that people are motivated by their desire to maintain a positive sense of self and a sense of belonging within their social groups. …


Illustration by Ailadi.

Why do people have such radically different responses to refugees? How is it that despite our best efforts to gain support for the protection of people whose lives are devastated by forces outside their control, we continue to face apathy and opposition?

The work of social scientists studying how people form beliefs suggests that different responses to issues ranging from climate change to immigration are driven by their emotions, values, and identities. Understanding how these factors work is important for designing effective communication strategies for the protection of refugees. …


Illustration by Ailadi.

Why do some people support policies that limit asylum seekers’ opportunity to seek refuge in another community? How is it that people can have such radically different perspectives on solutions for protecting refugees? How people think and act toward issues is influenced by their gut intuitions or emotional reactions (Haidt, 2012; Gray & Schein, 2016; Kahneman, 2011).

If you’ve been following this series, you know that emotions shape the way people form judgments and engage with social issues and possible solutions. People do not objectively weigh the pros and cons of politicized issues — like refugee crises, racial inequity or…


By Kelly Chernin and Annie Neimand

Insights from the social sciences have the potential to be useful, but not all research is created equal. Many areas of study suffer from systematic flaws that limit the usefulness of the research they produce. Before trusting what a study has to say, it’s important to critically evaluate the assumptions and conclusions the researchers have made along the way.” -T. Frank Waddell, Journalism assistant professor, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications

Findings that have long adorned psychology textbooks and found their way into the popular press, like the Stanford prison experiment, have…


Creators for Change ambassadors at YouTube Space in London

Last month, 50 YouTube content creators from around the world gathered in London for YouTube’s Creators for Change camp. These ambassadors met to work on projects for their YouTube channels to fight hate speech, xenophobia and racism. With millions of followers among them, this incredible program supports these influencers as they use the platform for social good. The ambassadors included creators such as:

Haifa Beseisso, a travel vlogger from the United Arab Emirates. Through comedy and travel, Beseisso uses her channel to spread tolerance between cultures. …


Rocket Boy/ iStock Photo

“The traveler goes some distance from his or her world of origin, which makes some aspects of the world of origin inaccessible. The traveler returns to the world of origin, somewhat changed by the journey.”- Richard Gerrig, professor of psycholinguistics, Stony Brook University¹

Have you ever gotten so involved in a story that you lose track of time and even forget where you are? Researchers refer to this experience as narrative transportation. It is a sign of a great story, and it is also a powerful tool for driving attitude change. …

Annie Neimand, Ph.D.

Director of Research for the Center for Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida.

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