A Vision for 21st Century Politics

For too long, the politics of manipulation and deceit have shaped our shared destiny. For decades, cutting-edge knowledge from psychology and related fields has been used by marketing and public relations firms for private gain and to the detriment of the public. In tandem with a cadre of conservative think tanks and political pundits, these influences have encouraged the creation of a cynicism and discord that has gradually eroded the quality of modern public life.

We offer an antidote to this dysfunctional politics by bringing insights from the cognitive and behavioral sciences to the political process. Our goal is both ambitious and simple – to bridge the gap between academia’s extensive knowledge about the human mind and the practices of our civic and political institutions. We seek to alleviate the immediate crises of frustration and recurring setbacks for progressive organizations, while also looking beyond the horizon to a world where citizens are empowered to know who they can trust and how they can participate in the betterment of society.

What will happen if this enterprise is successful? Imagine a world where:

  • Citizens recognize fear-inducing news reports intended to inflate manufactured risks and hide awareness of genuine threats, thereby reducing the effectiveness of these manipulative tactics.
  • Journalists understand the consequences of how facts are presented and beliefs are promoted in the structure of news reporting, resulting in coverage that enhances—rather than erodes—the democratic process.
  • Policy-makers abandon contrived and faulty presumptions about “economic rational actors” and instead craft solutions to societal challenges that improve the lives of real people through deeper insights into the human condition, culminating in robust policies that stand the test of time.
  • Advocates articulate clear and compelling calls to action that resonate deeply with the values of the citizenry, thereby promoting greater civic engagement and community empowerment.

The starting point for this work is the conceptual framework of cognitive policy developed at the Rockridge Institute, which you can learn more about here:

Introduction to Cognitive Policy

To learn more about the foundations of our work, take a look at our Cognitive Toolbox.

Cognitive Policy Works specializes in providing organizations and individuals with frame analysis, policy briefs, strategic advising, and training.