We humans are social animals, naturally driven to form close-knit groups. All too often, though, these groups become partisan. They start to compete with one another. They become mutually hostile. Why does this happen? And what can be done to counter the tendency
In Poles Apart, an expert on polarisation, a behavioural scientist and a professional communicator explain why we are so prone to be drawn into rival, often deeply antagonistic factions. They explore the shaping force of our genetic make-up on our fundamental views and the nature of the influences that family, friends and peers exert. They pinpoint the economic and political triggers that tip people from healthy disagreement to dangerous hostility, and the part played by social media in spreading entrenched opinions. And they help us to understand why outlooks that can seem so bizarre and extreme to us seem so eminently sensible to those who hold them.
Above all, by meticulously showing how and why polarisation affects every part of our lives — influencing everything from our friendship circles to our approach to health issues — they show what practical and effective steps we can all take to narrow divisions, build respect for others, and create a greater degree of common understanding.