Get curated editors’ picks, peeks behind the scenes, film recommendations and more.
If there’s one political idea most of us can agree on, it’s that we’re currently living through an age of immense ideological polarisation. Inspired by the hyperpartisan political climate in the US, the experimental social psychologist Peter Ditto at the University of California, Irvine set out to investigate how differing views of morality shape political judgments. Working from what’s known as ‘moral foundations theory’, which uses five categories – harm, fairness, loyalty, tradition and purity – as a framework for moral reasoning, Ditto created a survey website to learn to what extent different moral frameworks shape outlooks on political questions, and indeed the greater world. His findings were compelling, but likely unsurprising if you’ve ever had an irreconcilable political squabble at the dinner table: it’s our moral filters, not facts or rational thinking, that mould our ideological outlooks. You can read more about Ditto’s work at the University of California website.
Video by University of California
Website: Fig. 1
What can a Kurosawa classic tell us about reality, knowledge and truth?
Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars. The Nobel Prize went to her supervisor
Animals and humans
A bluesy ballad tells the story of Old Bet, the first circus elephant in the US
In this 1975 lecture, the maglev train’s inventor deconstructs his ingenious design
Meaning and the good life
To know or not to know? Lillian weighs the costs of a life-changing genetic test
Information and communication
There are many ways to make a flat map of the world – each of them a unique distortion
Liquid experiments show how beautiful things can happen when chemicals meet
What is it like to clean the world for tomorrow while the rest of a city sleeps?
Philosophy of mind
Caring for the vulnerable opens gateways to our richest, deepest brain states