How might intellectual humility—being aware of our own cognitive limitations and biases, and being responsive to the evidence—promote healthier and more meaningful discourse about various pressing issues in science, morality and religion? Through public engagement and the extension and application of research developed in previous projects on intellectual humility funded by the John Templeton Foundation, the Intellectual Humility in Public Discourse project (IHPD) aims to understand the barriers to constructive dialogue, promote solutions to partisan acrimony, and thereby translate research into positive cultural change.

IHPD’s engagement activities will include three high-profile public forums, summer institutes for high school teachers on how to incorporate intellectual humility into their classes, an online course on project themes, a publicity campaign, and a series of awareness-raising media initiatives. Its applied research activities will emerge from interconnected, mutually-reinforcing initiatives: a Visiting Fellowship program hosting leaders from the academic, media and non-profit sectors; an international RFP competition funding interdisciplinary teams of researchers pursuing project themes; three research workshops hosted at UConn; and a collaboration with UConn’s Mellon Foundation-funded “Scholarly Communications Design Studio” for the presentation of project research in new interactive modalities.

The project is hosted by the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, which has a history of sponsoring both public engagement and interdisciplinary research. As such, the Institute is a natural mechanism for implementing a project that seeks to apply research in the social sciences and humanities for the purpose of elevating the tone and outcomes of public discourse in our society.