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Using values to increase intellectual humility among political partisans

This project aims to examine how reflecting on our shared values can reduce arrogance and aggression in political debate.



Project status

In progress


1 Sep 2023 to 30 Mar 2026

Political debate is often characterised by an 'us versus them' mentality. Rather than trying to understand and respect the other’s viewpoint (i.e., intellectual humility), such debates often escalate into aggressive and divisive shouting matches between political opponents that hinder societal progress.

Some of the biggest challenges we face as a society - including climate change, wars, and pandemics - require us to bridge these divides and find effective solutions together. So, breaking down these barriers and encouraging more respectful political debates has the potential to help us respond to the challenges more effectively.

What we hope to achieve

This project aims to develop an approach that can sustain intellectual humility in online political debate.

We will do so by first building a theoretical framework for understanding the relation between values and virtues (such as intellectual humility). We will support this theoretical work through an international workshop and online reading groups involving experts on values and virtues from across philosophy and psychology.

We will also conduct a series of studies building on our past findings that people show greater intellectual humility in debates when they first reflect on their values.

In this project, we will extend this evidence by testing whether a focus on our shared values elicits more respectful online debates on a contentious political topic. Together, we hope to develop an intervention that can elicit respectful and constructive online political debate to generate solutions with broad acceptability.

The theoretical review and research studies form part of an innovative, interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of Bath, Cardiff University, and the University of Essex.

Team members

Expected outputs

We will give regular updates on the project’s approach and findings through this web page and our academic team’s posts on LinkedIn or X.

Relevant commentary will also be posted on the Cardiff University Open for Debate blog.


This project benefits from funding from the John Templeton Foundation. The funding amount is $249.999 (approximately £197,000).

Contact us

If you have any questions about this project, please contact us.