18-15 Segment 1: The Rise of Confrontational Politics

 

Copyright: razihusin / 123RF Stock Photo

 

Controversial politicians are nothing new in American politics, but the recent election of Donald Trump proved just how influential high-conflict politicians can be on the public. However, many people wonder what makes these high-conflict individuals so appealing, and how they manage to argue their way into powerful positions. We talk to two experts about how high-conflict politicians become so successful.

Bill Eddy, president of the High Conflict Institute and author of Trump Bubbles: The Dramatic Rise and Fall of High-Conflict Politicians, explains that a high-conflict person (HCP) is an individual that exhibits a repetitive narrow pattern of behavior, an all-or-nothing attitude, and intense emotions that easily distract them from being focused on problem solving. Many of their patterns of behavior become predictable, but Eddy states high-conflict individuals must first do something damaging before people realize. Yet, these high-conflict people still tend to attract an audience. He explains that high-conflict people are appealing in times of turmoil because they are able to make situations look simple. Furthermore, Eddy explains two other influencing factors in their success: the system of communication between a high-conflict person and the public, and that individuals ability to manipulate this system. Through understanding these different factors, high-conflict people are capable of gaining a following that allows them to become successful.

Another way that high-conflict people are able to appeal to a large audience and increase their opportunity for success is through emotion. Lauren A. Wright, PhD, political scientist and author of On Behalf of the President: Presidential Spouses and White House Communications Strategy Today, explains that studies have shown that being able to observe a person’s facial expressions, rather than just hearing the person speak, can influence people to be more inclined toward that person. Because of this, television and other visual media play a very important role in the public’s perception of a person.

How does this provide an advantage to politicians? This unconscious absorption of expression allows high-conflict politicians to easily spread their anger to their followers, while also establishing a loving relationship with them even though they have never met. However, when handling situations with a high-conflict person, Eddy explains that it is important to use E.A.R. statements. These statements rely on empathy, attention, and respect which can calm someone with a high-conflict personality because it shows them that you are aware that they are working hard and that you appreciate the work that they have done.

Guests:

  • Bill Eddy, president of the High Conflict Institute and author of Trump Bubbles: The Dramatic Rise and Fall of High-Conflict Politicians
  • Laura A. Wright, PhD; political scientist and author of On Behalf of the President: Presidential Spouses and White House Communications Strategy Today

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16-28 Segment 1: The Power of Introverts

shy woman and man sitting on sofa couch

 

Wallflower, shy, anti-social. All negative words we’ve used to describe people who are “introverts.” Our guest – an introvert herself — talks about just what an introvert is, and how they are actually very sociable in the right settings. She also discusses ways in which teachers and others can encourage introverts’ participation in school and in other groups, and how “quiet ones” complement the more gregarious and outgoing extroverts in their lives.

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