OpenMind Launches Thanksgiving Conversation Simulator

to Address Growing Political Polarization

OpenMind Launches Thanksgiving Conversation Simulator to Address Growing Political Polarization

November 22, 2021

New York (November 22, 2021) – OpenMind, a non-profit organization that builds psychology-based tools to help people bridge divides, released a Thanksgiving Conversation Simulator to help Americans prepare for the upcoming holiday.

For many Americans, this will be their first time gathering in person for Thanksgiving in two years. Unfortunately, the climate they’re returning to may be more fraught than they remember. According to a Pew Research Center study, 77% of Americans believe the country is more divided now than before the pandemic. 

“A challenge of our time is that conversations in small groups are harder now than they were just ten years ago. People are spending so much more time on social media platforms, exposed to vitriol, and the risks of saying the wrong thing, or being interpreted uncharitably, have grown. Yet honest conversation is more needed now than ever,” says Jonathan Haidt, professor at the NYU–Stern School of Business and co-founder of OpenMind. “We created this simulator to give people practice, confidence, and a bit of fun as they approach the holiday season.”

The short interactive program teaches three science-backed tips for constructive dialogue and enables people to practice them through a personalized conversation simulator. Users enter the name of a person they tend to disagree with and a topic that divides them. They then practice applying the three steps and experience how their conversation partner may respond. Users can go through as many rounds as they’d like to simulate conversations with different people in their life.   

“Our goal is to equip people with practical strategies to navigate Thanksgiving skillfully, so that the holiday is memorable for the right reasons,” says Caroline Mehl, co-founder and executive director of OpenMind. 

About OpenMind  

OpenMind is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that was founded by Jonathan Haidt and Caroline Mehl to help Americans bridge divides. OpenMind translates the latest behavioral science research into educational tools that are evidence-based, practical, and scalable in order to equip people with the mindset and skill set to communicate and collaborate across differences. 

Research demonstrates that OpenMind’s educational program is effective in achieving a number of outcomes among learners, including reducing affective polarization – the standard metric used to measure cross-party animosity – as well as increasing intellectual humility, perspective-taking, and growth mindset. 

Since launching in 2017, OpenMind’s educational tools have been used by more than 50,000 learners in classrooms, workplaces, and communities across the country.

Press Contact:
Caroline Mehl
Executive Director