This unique book lays out the motivational basis for tolerance, the most important underlying factor that shapes people’s social attitudes and determines our ability to get along with others.
Closed- or open-mindedness distinguishes people open to information and new ideas, prepared to change their views, from people who are rigidly attached to their convictions and resistant to the unknown. Demonstrating how the mechanism underlying closed-mindedness is rooted in uncertainty and fear, with the fundamental consequence of closed-mindedness being intolerance, the author shows how basic features of human psychology drive large-scale socio-political developments that determine the fate of peoples and nations. Kossowska argues that recent political events across Europe, including the popularity and rise of extreme right-wing groups, are no longer adequately explained by traditional distinctions like people versus the elite, religion versus no religion, left versus right. Exploring how this can provide knowledge to increase the capability of people, groups, or societies to improve their lives in an era of uncertainty created by economic and political turmoil, the book also focuses on discussing ways to make people more open, thus tolerant.
Written from a psychological perspective, this is an ideal resource for students and academics in psychology and social and political science, as well as anybody interested in understanding psychological mechanisms of intolerance.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Introduction Chapter 2. Social beliefs Chapter 3. Acquiring Social Knowledge – the Formation of Beliefs Chapter 4. Uncertainty and Anxiety as a Source of Closed-Mindedness Chapter 5. Towards Closed-Mindedness – How People Cope With Uncertainty Chapter 6. Does Content Matter Chapter 7. Closed-Mindedness and Intolerance Chapter 8. Motivated to Achieve Certainty Chapter 9. Content Counts… for Harmonious Social Relations Chapter 10. Some Final Reflections
Małgorzata Kossowska is a full professor in psychology and Head of the Social Psychology Unit and Center for Social Cognitive Studies in the Institute of Psychology at Jagiellonian University. She is chair of the National Science Center Council, member of the Polish Academy of Science, and Member of the Executive Committee of European Association of Social Psychology. Her areas of interest include the cognitive and motivational underpinnings of complex social phenomena.
Ewa Szumowska, PhD, is a researcher at the Social Psychology Unit in the Institute of Psychology at Jagiellonian University in Krakow and a member of the Center for Social Cognitive Studies Krakow, Association for Psychological Science and the European Association of Social Psychology. She studies motivation, information processing, multiple goal pursuit, and extremism.
Paulina Szwed is a researcher working at the Social Psychology Unit in the Institute of Psychology at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, a member of the Center for Social Cognitive Studies Krakow and the International Society of Political Psychology. Her scientific interests are organized around motivated cognitive effort, especially in the context of cognitive dissonance reduction and dealing with uncertainty.
‘There is no doubt that living in uncertainty is one of the leading experience of human beings across ages as well as a challenge. The book "The Psychology of Tolerance in Times of Uncertainty" is a must for all those who desire to understand its nature, sources and consequences. The book very comprehensively, broadly and systematically analyzes these themes and thus provides for scholars as well as for lay psychologists wide scope knowledge about the combination of the context and human characteristic. This is a very timely book as we have entered to a new uncertain period in which intolerance becomes one of its defining marks.’- Daniel Bar-Tal, Professor Emeritus, Tel Aviv University, Israel
‘This important book lays out the motivational basis for tolerance, perhaps the single most important underlying factor that shapes people’s social attitudes, and determines our ability to get along with others, different from oneself. A particularly timely volume at times where forces of globalization and massive immigration make living with strangeness a universal imperative. The authors manage to compellingly demonstrate how basic features of human psychology drive large-scale socio political developments that determine the fate of peoples and nations. A truly impressive achievement.’ – Arie W. Kruglanski, Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland, College Park, US
'Populist leaders around the world attract their voters with simple explanations, conspiracy theories and illusions of certainty. What makes people attracted to such simplicity? This brilliant book offers a detailed psychological account of closedmindedness and its different faces. The authors show how people’s need for greater certainty cannot be met in uncertain situations – and how such conflicts are expressed in multiple domains of human functioning, ranging from orthodox religiosity to political dogmatism. This is an invaluable resource for all those who want to understand the emotions, motivations, and decisions and cognitions of people living in our uncertain era.' – Michal Bilewicz, Professor in Psychology, Warsaw University Center for Research on Prejudice, Poland