In today’s polarized and social-media-infused society, intellectual humility, curiosity, and honesty are often devalued relative to intellectual arrogance, dogmatic certainty, and dishonesty. People can be assailed for expressing doubt in their group’s beliefs or for displaying curiosity about other belief systems. The result is a society where people are pressured to conform to particular views, even if those views are not supported by evidence. But imagine there was a way to reach millions of people and deliver an antidote to the forces eroding character and intellectual virtues?
We have created a tool to do exactly that. OpenMind is an interactive educational platform that teaches psychological concepts in order to cultivate intellectual humility and prepare people for wiser thinking and greater tolerance for diverse perspectives. Our project seeks to answer the Big Question: What is the fundamental nature of intellectual humility? To this end, we will examine how intellectual humility relates to other intellectual virtues, what its precursors and consequences are, and whether it can be fostered over time. In this project, we will develop an extended intervention focused on enhancing intellectual humility through enduring behavior change. We will partner with leading experts to adapt the intervention and test it with five target populations: college and high school students, and members of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths.
Over the course of this project, we will validate techniques of enhancing intellectual humility in a variety of populations, and we will assess the behavioral consequences both on individuals and communities. This will advance the scientific understanding of intellectual humility substantially, as it will be the first attempt to promote this virtue on a large scale using evidence-based methods. Moreover, we intend to create an infrastructure to spread these intellectual virtues to millions of people worldwide in the ensuing years.