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THE ROOTS OF EXTREMISM: The Fundamentalist in Your Brain

Sunday, June 3, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Nearly every group has its extreme outliers. Where does fundamentalism come from? How does the most powerful organ in the known universe, the human brain, make emotionally driven decisions that ignore reason and fact? We’ll talk to neuroscientists, psychologists, and anthropologists about why our species may have evolved to accommodate the set of behaviors we associate with zealotry.

The Big Ideas Series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.


Maria KonnikovaAuthor

Maria Konnikova is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, The Confidence Game and Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes. She is a contributing writer for The New Yorker and is currently working on a book about poker and the balance of skill and luck in life, The Biggest Bluff.

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Jonathan HaidtSocial Psychologist

Jonathan Haidt is a Social Psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Haidt’s research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultural and political divides.

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Jay Van BavelSocial Neuroscientist

Jay Van Bavel is an Associate Professor of Psychology & Neural Science at New York University. He conducts research on how group identities’ moral values and political beliefs shape the mind and brain.

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Katherine PorterfieldPsychologist

Kate Porterfield is a clinical psychologist at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, where she provides clinical care to individuals and families who have survived torture and refugee trauma. She is often called on to evaluate young people involved in activities linked to extremist thought.

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