heterodox: the blog
HxA Open Mind Award Winners: Tenelle Porter and Karina Schumann
Research on viewpoint diversity has increased rapidly in recent years. But that of Tenelle Porter, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, and Karina Schumann, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, stood out due to its broad applicability to our mission. For this achievement, the HxA Open Mind Awards Committee has recognized Porter and Schumann as co-winners of the Exceptional Scholarship Award. Porter’s research examines ways to promote positive development across all stages of life while Schumann’s research focuses upon conflict resolution and intellectual humility, religion, and motivation.
Together, they authored “Intellectual humility and openness to the opposing view” [PDF] for the quarterly journal Self and Identity. It was an investigation into the limits of personal knowledge and the degree to which we can appreciate the intellectual strengths of others.
The existing background research, organized into sections on 1) conceptualizing intellectual humility, 2) intellectual humility and barriers to openness during disagreements, and 3) fostering intellectual humility, leads into four new studies conducted by Porter and Schumann to test their hypothesis that intellectual humility is associated with greater openness to opposing perspectives. The abstract reads in part:
In Studies 1 and 2, participants with higher intellectual humility were more open to learning about the opposition’s views during imagined disagreements. In Study 3, those with higher intellectual humility exposed themselves to a greater proportion of opposing political perspectives. In Study 4, making salient a growth mindset of intelligence boosted intellectual humility, and, in turn, openness to opposing views.
The results underscore the ways that recognizing the limitations of our own knowledge renders us more able to listen to others. From the conclusion:
“Promoting intellectual humility may thus offer one path to making disagreements more constructive, and our research suggests that teaching people a malleable view of intelligence may be one promising way to foster intellectual humility and its associated benefits.”
The work of Porter and Schumann provides further scholarly evidence of the value of viewpoint diversity, promoting a mindset of intellectual humility and, thereby, fostering a culture of open inquiry. Our HxA research summary of their paper is available here.
About heterodox: the blog
As an organization that prizes pluralism and disagreement — with 5000+ members holding diverse views on most issues — Heterodox Academy almost never takes positions as an organization on current events and controversies. Opinions expressed here are those of the author(s). Publication does not imply endorsement by Heterodox Academy or any of its members. We encourage readers to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn — and to join in the conversation on those forums — to weigh in on this or other posts.
Heterodox: the blog is a platform for academics, researchers, professors, and students to share the challenges they face within their academic communities through both analysis and actionable solutions. We aspire to have every reader walk away with a richer understanding of the challenges of the university environment, as well as practical tools and techniques for addressing them. Interested in contributing? Please see our submission guidelines.