In 2020, NationSwell partnered with the Greater Good Science Center and Einhorn Collaborative to explore science-supported solutions to building bridges across divides. Together, we produced videos about some of the most exciting solutions to bring us closer together — and in doing so, reap the benefits of a more connected society. Here are some highlights from our partnership.

What Bad Party Guests Can Teach Us About Bridging Divides

Who is the perfect dinner guest? It is the person who tells the best story? Has the funniest joke? Interjects with a good anecdote?

Studies suggest that it’s none of those people. The best dinner guests are Active Listeners, not dominant talkers. They ask questions, don’t interrupt, and express interest and empathy in what they hear, making people feel supported and understood. Watch it above.

Cats, Anyone?

What if we shifted our focus from the ways people are different, and looked at the ways that we’re similar?

It’s easy to get along with people who share our values. We naturally create “ingroups” with people who share similar goals, political views or taste in music. Our ingroup becomes “Us,” and anyone outside our group becomes “Them.”

Is it possible to break down the barriers between Us and Them?  The Common Ingroup Identity Model says it is. Specifically, that if we can find a point of similarity with someone, we’ll show less negative bias towards them.

We put two real people on camera to test this theory. Watch it here.

The Science of Broccoli and Prejudice

One scientist’s vegetable experiment reveals a way to connect with people who are different from you … and you don’t even have to eat them.

Did you know that your brain has a built-in threat detector?  It’s called the amygdala. When it works well, it protects us from danger but it also creates unconscious bias—the stuff you don’t even know your brain is doing.

There’s good news. You can re-train your brain to reduce prejudice and bias — and all it takes is a few vegetables. Watch it here.

How to Shift From Hostility to Empathy in Political Conversations

Political conversation with someone whose views are different than yours are tough.  But even the thorniest divide can be more narrowed if we try “Moral Reframing“.

The technique allows you to identify the moral premise that matters to the other person and then present your idea in a way that makes sense to them.  Watch this video and learn how to closer divides in your politics…and beyond.

Watch it here.

If Democracy Had a Sound, It Would Be Jazz

The best elements of jazz and democracy come together in the pursuit of common goals.

Jazz and democracy have more in common than you might think. At their best, they use techniques to bridge differences and elevate diverse perspectives. Hear it for yourself here.

De-Stressing From Social Media Is Easier Than You Think

If you can feel your stress and anxiety levels rising while you use social media, you’re not alone. And even though your feed is completely digital, those negative feelings can actually have an impact on our physical health. Clenched jaws, tightened fists and elevated heart rates are just a few ways that bad experiences with other people on social media can manifest in our bodies.

But a simple mindfulness exercise like inhaling deeply, listening to music or taking a walk while paying attention to your surroundings can help combat that. At a time when social media use is surging due to the COVID-19 lockdown, it has never been more important to take care of yourself IRL while you spend more time online — and that means learning ways to find your center while you scroll.

Watch it here.