Jonathan Haidt

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

21:00 min
Politics, Psychology
419 pages, 2012

Do you ever wonder why people with different political leanings seem unable to understand each other? In 'The Righteous Mind' Jonathan Haidt explores the psychological origins of morality and ideology to explain this phenomenon. He reveals how innate moral intuitions interact with cultural influences and individual cognition to shape diverse matrices of moral values across the political spectrum. From the metaphor of political "palates" to the "elephant vs rider" model of moral reasoning, Haidt offers a nuanced synthesis of research in psychology, politics, and evolutionary theory. This short illuminates why conflicts arise amid clashing moral worldviews and proposes structural solutions for improving discourse. If you wish to surpass the polarizing partisan debates and develop deeper understanding, empathy and appreciation for different ideologies, Haidt’s compelling analysis offers a revelatory framework.

Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt is an award-winning social psychologist and professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, where he is also a Thomas Cooley Fellow of Ethical Leadership. As a widely published author and speaker, Haidt has made significant contributions to moral psychology and character education. Most notably, he pioneered Moral Foundations Theory — an influential framework for understanding the core moral values that shape political divisions around the world. Haidt also co-founded the Heterodox Academy, an organization seeking to promote open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and freedom of speech in academia and beyond. Known for his incisive analysis of current social trends, he is considered one of the preeminent social commentators exploring the foundations of human morality and their impact on politics and generative culture.


The rationalist theory says morality develops through logical reasoning about harm and fairness, but it fails to explain how cultural traditions and emotional reactions also deeply shape our moral judgments.
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Cover of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion