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The Righteous Mind with Jonathan Haidt

Posted by on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 in News.

September 9, 2013 we welcomed Jonathan Haidt to Vanderbilt to be the second speaker for the new Chaplain’s Speaker Series. Jonathan Haidt (pronounced “height”) is a social psychologist at the NYU-Stern School of Business. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992, and spent most of his career (1995-2011) at the University of Virginia. Haidt’s research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultures. In recent years he has examined the moral cultures of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. Haidt is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis, and of the New York Times bestseller The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.


Vanderbilt welcomed Dr. Haidt to campus on Monday, September 9th  in Benton Chapel. Dr. Haidt gave his presentation on his research and then did a short question and answer period to an audience of Vanderbilt students, staff, faculty, and the Nashville Community. Following the presentation and Q&A, there was a reception with a book signing by Dr. Haidt. Cosponsored by Nashville’s Family of Abraham, the event was well attended as Dr. Haidt displayed his theories through a compelling and at times humorous power point presentation. Dr. Haidt displayed that people who are on either sides of the political or religious spectrum come from a similar mind set, but that certain values and attributes are more highly valued than others, making them land on the side of the spectrum that they are. While the remaining values are not as emphasized, they are still represented and each side can find value and similarities in the other.See the video of Dr. Haidt’s lecture below.

In addition, we also hosted a second event with Dr. Haidt the following morning at the Ben Schulman Center for Jewish Life. At 7:30 am, The Chaplain’s Series, in partnership with Vanderbilt Hillel and the Family of Abraham, hosted Dr. Haidt for a small breakfast conversation to discuss his talk from the previous evening and what that message means to Vanderbilt and the Nashville community. Members of the community, Vanderbilt students and staff we able to come together for a breakfast catered by Grins to ask more pointed questions and get more personal time with Dr. Haidt.

For any questions, please contact the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life.