Matt Motyl
University of Virginia
Picture of Matt

206D Gilmer Hall
P.O. Box 400400
Charlottesville, VA 22904
phone: 434-982-4736
email: motyl at virginia dot edu


I'm a fifth year doctoral candidate in Social Psychology at the University of Virginia. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Women's Studies from Allegheny College in 2006 and my Master of Arts degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2009 where I worked with Dr. Tom Pyszczynski (author of In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror, and co-developer of terror management theory). While there, I studied the existential factors that motivate people to engage in, or endorse, violent (especially terrorist and extreme counterterrorist) acts toward people belonging to threatening groups. Now, I work with Dr. Jonathan Haidt (author of the Happiness Hypothesis, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion) and Dr. Brian Nosek (Implicit Social Cognition, Project Implicit), and Dr. Sophie Trawalter. Jon Haidt and I have been developing a website that we hope will serve as a hub for all academic research on matters relevant to improving political discussions in the United States (see Generally, I am interested in understanding why people who hold different moral and political values cannot discuss those matters without yelling at one another, and under what conditions can people across the moral and political divides communicate in a civil manner.

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Recent Media Coverage

11/27/2013: NPR -- How Republicans And Democrats Ended Up Living Apart
11/13/2013: Salon -- Forget states -- neighborhoods are now red and blue
11/12/2013: Pacific Standard Magazine -- There's No Place Like My Ideologically Homogeneous Home
10/7/2013: CBS Radio -- The Psychology of the Government Shutdown
10/4/2013: Live Science -- Gov't Shutdown Science: Why Human Nature Is to Blame