WWS Calendar

Up to the Minute Talk: Listen, We Need to Talk: How to Change Attitudes about LGBT Rights

Mar 8, 2017 04:30PM to 06:00PM
Robertson Hall
Open to the Public
Brian Harrison, Lecturer in Political Science, Northwestern University; Melissa Michelson, Professor of Political Science, Menlo College

What led to dramatic changes in attitudes about LGBT rights from 2006 to 2016? How can we continue to change attitudes today, as a new president and his administration already have reversed federal protections for transgender students?

On Wednesday, March 8, Brian Harrison and Melissa Michelson, political scientists and co-authors of the recently published “Listen, We Need to Talk: How to Change Attitudes About LGBT Rights,” will share their research. The talk will be followed by a book sale and signing.

Published by Oxford University Press, the book uncovers how to change people’s attitudes on controversial topics using what the authors call “The Theory of Dissonant Identity Priming.” The theory, which the pair tested through randomized experiments across the U.S., shows how people are often willing to change their attitudes about LGBT rights when they find out that others with whom they share an identity are also supporters of those rights.

Harrison is lecturer in political science at Northwestern University. A political scientist, writer and award-winning teacher, he has taught at Northwestern University, Wesleyan University, Loyola University-Chicago and DePaul University and has held academic affiliations with Yale University and New York University. Harrison is a specialist in political communication, political behavior and attitude change and public opinion. He has been published in academic journals including Political Behavior, Legislative Studies Quarterly and Social Science Quarterly, among others. Prior to graduate school, Harrison was a White House appointee to the Department of Homeland Security.

Michelson is professor of political science at Menlo College. She is co-author of “Mobilizing Inclusion: Redefining Citizenship through Get-Out-the-Vote Campaigns” (2012) and “Living the Dream: New Immigration Policies and the Lives of Undocumented Latino Youth” (2014). She has published dozens of articles in peer-reviewed academic journals, including pieces in American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics and International Migration Review. Michelson’s current research projects explore voter registration and mobilization in minority communities and persuasive communication on LGBT rights.