Matt Motyl

Assistant professor of psychology


Matt Motyl

Matt Motyl — Photo: Jenny Fontaine

Why is it so difficult for people to discuss politics and religion without yelling at one another? What can be done to improve dialogue between groups who have different moral, political, and religious worldviews? How do people’s moral, political, and religious beliefs steer them into segregated ideological enclaves, such as “Red” and “Blue” communities?

Social and political psychologist Matt Motyl studies how basic psychological and sociocultural processes make productive political dialogue difficult and rare. His research is aimed at figuring out ways to improve dialogue between groups in conflict with each other.

He is co-director of, a nonprofit organization where he and other scholars offer policymakers, community groups and individuals evidence-based methods and ideas to bridge moral divisions and cultivate a more civil and respectful political environment.

Motyl has also examined factors that motivate people to engage in, or endorse, violent – particularly terrorist and extreme counterterrorist – acts.

Subject areas:

  • Political psychology
  • Social ecology
  • Intergroup conflict
  • Political ideology

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