The Rise, Causes, and Potential Solutions to Partisan Polarization with Yph Lelkes and Matt Levendusky


NFRPP’s Distinguished Lecture Series, “Let’s Talk” will focus on the growing polarization among individuals in our society and between the political parties.  Our speakers will take a closer look at the role of the media in fostering polarization.  What is the difference between people’s views on the issues, and their feelings toward the other party? What, if anything, might be done to help remedy the growing hostility between the political parties and individuals?  Two authoritative behavioral psychologists and political scientists with research and expertise in this area will help us to understand the conflict and offer some practical resolutions.


Yphtach (Yph) Lelkes is an assistant professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.  His focus is on the role of the political information environment in structuring attitudes, with a special interest in the role and proliferation of digital media. He has written on the increasing hostility between Democrats and Republicans, and ways in which the media has contributed to interparty animosity. His work also shows how a higher quality internet has contributed to less citizen engagement.   Citizens are learning more about politics but not necessarily participating in the political process.  He has also written extensively on the structure of political ideology and identities.

Matthew Levendusky is currently an associate professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also Chair of the department's graduate group and has a secondary appointment in Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.  His research focuses on understanding how institutions and elites influence the political behavior of ordinary citizens. This broad question is taken up in studies of mass polarization, voter cue taking, the impact of partisan media on ordinary voters, and a variety of other substantive questions.