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Let's humbly disagree

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Intellectual humility is the admission that you have imperfect knowledge about the world. And accepting that idea can be the first step toward conflict resolution between factions that see the world differently and share a deep divide over politics, race, religion and visions for the future.

After accepting that you lack knowledge or have blind spots in your own point of view, you can then recognize that others might have the information you seek. Then engaging in civil dialog and sharing a conversation can be a positive experience.

Research shows that people who practice intellectual humility make more thoughtful decisions, have stronger connections with their friends and partners and are more accepting of others, which can lead to a happier and less stressful life.

Unfortunately, we live at a time when there’s pressure to appear as if you are always right and you have no doubt in your certainty. Any wavering is seen as a sign of weakness. But recognizing incompleteness in our knowledge isn’t ignorance. It’s the opposite.

How to disagree without being disagreeable.


Mylien Duong, Ph.D., is Senior Director of Research at the Constructive Dialogue Institute, a non-partisan non-profit organization that supports college students, staff and faculty, in having meaningful conversations about the things that matter in an increasingly polarized political climate. With support from the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and private foundations, her research focuses on developing and evaluating interventions that promote social-emotional and academic success and prevent and treat mental health problems.

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255 or email thesource@tpr.org.

This interview will be recorded Tuesday, November 7, 2023.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi