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Event Details

October 2, 2023
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM


8.9.2023 Gail Sahar
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Virtual - Q&A with Gail Sahar, Author of "Blame and Political Attitudes: The Psychology of America’s Culture War"

Monday, October 2, 2023

We just didn't have enough time with Gail last time so she's agreed to an encore discussion! This time, we'll be focusing on the culture wars and how they have contributed to the current divide in America. And, how can we bring our family and friends back to the dinner table for meaningful discussions? Please join us for another conversation with Professor Gail Sahar, author of "Blame and Political Attitudes: The Psychology of America’s Culture War".

You can buy signed books (by bookplate) by Gail from Aesop's Fable. Just write that you would like the book signed in the notes section at checkout. 

Buy signed books by Gail

About the book:

Questions about the causes of events, from terrorist attacks to mass shootings to economic and public health crises dominate conversations across the US. Recent research in social psychology outlines the process we use to identify the causes of such events, reveals how we determine who is responsible or to blame, and documents the far-reaching consequences of these determinations for our emotions, our actions, and our attitudes.

Current approaches to political opinions posit a direct path from a person’s worldview (liberal or conservative) to their attitudes toward specific political issues like abortion and welfare. This book argues that blame is the missing link between the two. 

Gail Sahar demonstrates that the current emphasis on value differences, whether between conservatives and liberals in the U.S. or between religious and secular countries on a global level, ignores commonalities in the way people think about issues. She proposes that focusing on perceived causes of social problems is a much more promising avenue for dialog than trying to reconcile fundamental belief systems. Informed by the latest psychological science, this new take on how to change attitudes has implications for anyone seeking to influence the viewpoints of others, from politicians and activists to ordinary people talking about current events at a dinner party.

About the Author:

Gail Sahar is the Jane Oxford Keiter Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. She earned her Ph.D. at UCLA and has been teaching social and political psychology while researching attitudes toward controversial social issues for over 25 years. She has won awards for her teaching and was recently honored with an endowed chair for teaching and research. Her research focuses on how a person’s worldview or political ideology is linked to their perceptions of the causes of social problems and how those perceptions influence blame, emotions, and opinions. She has investigated public attitudes toward numerous issues, such as poverty, abortion, and terrorism. Her work offers hope to those working for political change as it suggests ways to influence the attitudes of others by focusing less on political ideology and more on perceptions of the causes of social problems. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, music, movies, cooking and tasting good wine. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and beloved mutt.

Please register for this event and you'll receive the link in the confirmation and reminder emails - make sure to check your spam folder for them, the email will be coming from

This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Ashland Public Library and in partnership with a multitude of MA Libraries. We thank the Bellingham Library for bringing this book and author to our attention. 

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