Hike + discuss cognitive science and talking politics

 

Think of a person you have troubles conversing with or convincing in politics, maybe a conversation that ruins Thanksgiving or something online that peeves you deeply and you can't figure out an adequate response, and we'll gather for a hike and discuss how to have better conversations.

 

 

** The Hike **

10:30am-3pm Saturday 8/24
Up the Claremont Canyon regional preserve, start at the gate at
Tanglewood Path & Stonewall, Berkeley, CA [google map this]
just off Claremont Ave. Please indicate if you can carpool when you rsvp!

==> http://www.ebparks.org/parks/claremont_canyon#howtoreach We meet at the question mark on the map, or at the top of the trail at 11:15 to avoid the steep part.


We'll take "Stonewall Panoramic Trail" up Claremont Canyon to Panoramic Way.

 

Easy/later option: To avoid the steepest part of the hike, drive up the hill and meet us where dirt trail intersects paved road (or at the bench a few feet down the dirt trail), at 11:15.

We will regroup and reintroduce there.

Then we'll hike the Fire Trail which is much flatter than the hike up.

 

 

**  Conversation Starting Topics **

Brief moderated introduction: Cognitive scientists have been studying liberals' and conservatives' brains. We'll quickly review Lakoff's "strict father," Haidt's Moral Foundations, Altemeyer's Right Wing Authoritarianism, etc.*

Conversations: Then everyone can explore the political conversations and debates we've had, and whether we think the cognitive science matches our own Thanksgiving debates or not. Can cognitive science help, or can we help each other, make these conversations more effective either for "winning" debates and/or more effective for staying friends with people we disagree with?

I'm particularly interested in how to make political conversations less ugly: how do we not talk past each other, how do calm and compassionate people not give up the floor to angry people but not get sucked into miserable debates? In yoga or in relationships the hard postures and difficult conversations are where we grow -- politics tends to just be miserable, can we change that?

# # #

* If you've read interesting authors on politics+cognitive sci and want to help moderate the brief intro, let me know.

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  • Stephen B.

    Thanks everyone, this was a nice hike with stunning views, and some really great conversations that I want to continue! I'd be interested to co-lead (do you want to join as an organizer) follow-up Meetups, perhaps a few gatherings with more focused conversations suggestions. From feedback: I think the next hike will be flatter even if it means more driving, and perhaps a parking lot or bigger, clearer meeting place. Some ideas for focuses: * pick an issue or two and focus on what cognitive science (not just policy debates) say about how we respond to it * everyone brings a real example of a difficult conversation * sequentially review the different academic views on our politics (Lakoff's framing, Haidt and other's very recent Moral Foundations, anti-fascism work that started in the 50's, conservatism and fear research (and its critics/limits), etc.)

    ** If you want to join and couldn't make this time, please help pick the next time/venue!

    August 25, 2013

  • ilsa b.

    I have the blue 3x5 card from the gate and lots of pictures from various points but did not connect! I was not sent a phone number. I really wanted to spend time this afternoon, with this group and listen to the lively conversation since this is an area of both my study and interest.

    I am bereft! How does it happen that I go to events and do not find the group? I will post the pictures I took and a foto of the blue 3x5 card in the spirit of humor. I did say that I seem to have a hard time finding the group two days before this meetup and I actually asked for either help of a carpool or a buddy. I joined the meet up to be with people! I am so sad that I missed the lively conversation! I crossed paths with many interesting individuals as I walked along the trails. Sigh! I hope to see you all soon!

    August 24, 2013

    • Stephen B.

      Hi Ilsa, sorry you didn't find us, I sent an email to RSVP's the night before with my phone number (which may not have worked once we were too far on the trail), and we were at the points on the map at the times listed. I'd be interested to hear specific advice on giving better advice about where to find us -- the google maps don't seem to work for everyone, what would be helpful instead?

      August 25, 2013

  • Stephen B.

    Had some great conversations, met great people and got our brains going, and there was a strong intention to repeat the event maybe as soon as three weeks from now!

    August 24, 2013

  • ilsa b.

    How will I find you for the later meeting point?

    August 24, 2013

    • ilsa b.

      Where are you:-)

      August 24, 2013

  • Malcolm

    As a Libertarian I'd most probably would be a pariah in this case. Another time perhaps.

    August 23, 2013

    • Stephen B.

      Malcolm -- so far most of the cognitive scientists studying politics have looked at conservatives and liberals, so you might feel left out. Jonathan Haidt and some other have started surveying Libertarians as well, if you want to explore. I'd be interested to share ideas on what kind of event would interest you, maybe we can plan another.

      August 23, 2013

    • Malcolm

      Thanks, Steve, most appreciated.

      August 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Darn, I can't make this but it sounds fun

    August 24, 2013

  • Janet K.

    driving from El Sobrante for the 11.15 part, can pick you up in the hood.

    August 13, 2013

    • ilsa b.

      Oh I would love to car pool with you. Let's talk 510-eight four seven 5928. I live about three blocks from the Claremont ... I was so nervous about not being able to find the group at the meeting place. I am sorry that I did not find your post until now. Smile

      August 23, 2013

  • L L K.

    Darn, I now have family coming to town that need my attention. Hope this repeats/continutes sometime!

    August 23, 2013

  • April

    anyone want to carpool? I'm on the Peninsula and am always happy to drive to someone's place who wants to drive the rest of the way.

    1 · August 23, 2013

  • Gregory M.

    Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    August 18, 2013

  • Marianne K.

    How long is the hike? Difficult? Medium?

    August 8, 2013

    • Stephen B.

      The hike starts out steep but after that is pretty easy and focused on conversation --> you can drive above the steep part and meet at about 11:15 (details in the post), we'll re-group and re-introduce above the steep part.

      August 12, 2013

  • ilsa b.

    I got the last of three shots in my knees to regrow the cartilage. I would like to have the shortest path and the most conversation. I am certainly willing to car pool... [masked]

    August 6, 2013

    • ilsa b.

      will there be a short 'walk' arriving at a sit down rather than deep thinking talking while walking?

      August 6, 2013

    • Stephen B.

      A couple people have mentioned wanting the conversation without the hike. One option is to hike up the hill, then meet and sit on logs for an hour or so at the top of the hill -- a short, mostly flat walk from parking -- and then people who want to keep hiking could continue? Does that work for everyone? (Another option is to plan a cafe version of this, maybe find another Meetup group to invite.)

      August 7, 2013

  • April

    isn't that Labor Day weekend?

    August 1, 2013

    • Stephen B.

      So the last weekend in August seems like the best choice. Anyone want to pick between Sat and Sun?

      August 1, 2013

    • Kamila

      Saturday works for me. Sunday could work if we could meet a little bit later.......say 1ish.

      August 4, 2013

  • L L K.

    Shall we take a poll for a new date? Anyone for the 24th, 25th or 31st, or Sept 1st?

    July 28, 2013

    • Stephen B.

      Yes, all 4 of those dates work for me, planned this far out. Any other votes? I like walking and talking, but we can pick a flatter hike or cafe if people really like the topic and don't like the hike.

      July 29, 2013

    • L L K.

      Like the hike idea--though flatter is fine too.

      July 30, 2013

  • Stephen B.

    8/24th, 25th or 31st, or Sept 1st all work for me.

    July 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Have a recovering knee from a hiking injury as a matter of fact, so can't do it.

    July 23, 2013

    • Stephen B.

      Frann, do you have suggestions on an alternative venue, skipping the hike?

      July 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I love the idea for this meetup, I've been meaning to finish reading Lakoff for some time.

    July 28, 2013

  • April

    ps or as some say: a 'right-fighter' who doesn't really care about harmony and happiness, just being right

    July 1, 2013

  • April

    fyi two showstoppers I've used effectively: 1. it's not that simple (learned from a Skeptics meeting) 2. we'll have to agree to disagree....but ultimately, a 'controlling' type who has to 'win' at any cost will never give up; they're the ultimate litigious type

    July 1, 2013

  • Stephen B.

    This time & date doesn't seem to have worked well -- if you're interested in the topic, let me know what would work better! Should we have the conversation without the hike (or the hike without that topic)?

    June 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Noon is really hot for a hike.

    June 30, 2013

  • April

    sorry, too hot! going for a dip in the pool instead

    June 29, 2013

  • James

    I reget needing to cancel. Hopefully next time!

    June 29, 2013

  • April

    Is this close to your planned route w/1000 feet elevation? http://www.mapmyhike.com/routes/view/234684629

    June 26, 2013

    • April

      it wasn't real clear where the intersection was for panoramic way but i'll try again.

      June 27, 2013

    • Stephen B.

      https://maps.google.co...­

      This is the steep part, we'll meet at the top and wait until 12:30 if we get to the top sooner. Parking on Panoramic I'm not sure how that will work, I don't believe you can drive to the top of the dirt trail.

      June 27, 2013

  • April

    maybe...is this a social hike or competitive full-speed ahead hike? no waiting.... : )

    June 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great topic, for social skills. Unfortunately will be out of town.

    June 26, 2013

  • ANNETTE

    This sounds so amazing!!! I am so jealous! Unfortunately, I have a prior commitment.

    June 26, 2013

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