Subscribe to our daily email of featured TEDxTalks

This video was filmed at an independently organized TEDx event and uploaded by the organizer. To flag a video (good or bad!), use this form.

How to Win a Political Debate in 5 Easy Steps | Joshua Thompson | TEDxWWU
Viewed 39 times
Added Jun 27, 2016
Share this story
This talk describes a scientific approach to debating politics with your friends and family based on theories in cognitive and social psychology as well as marketing. The relevant research, theories, and five step “strategy” is presented in the context of a recent political debate with an old friend. This friend is a conservative, evangelical Christian and slightly hostile toward marriage equality. I took a psychological approach in presenting my argument in favor of marriage equality and I eventually won the debate. The old friend acknowledged my point of view publicly…on Facebook.

The general purpose of the talk is to express the need to avoid the language of ideology and, instead, appeal to a person’s sense of morality when debating politics. The strategy is my own musings, but is based on psychology and supported by data. This includes data from my thesis and from my other research.

Joshua is currently completing a Master of Science in Experimental Psychology at Western. Along with Dr. Catherine Riordan, he leads the WWU Political Psychology Lab with a research focus on morality and political communication. Additionally, he has worked closely with Dr. Joseph Trimble and Dr. Jean Lau Chin (Adelphi University, Garden City, NY) with their research involving leadership and diversity. He has published in the areas of personality, leadership, and politics and his research has been presented at the Association for Psychological Science, American Psychological Association, and Western Psychological Association conferences.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at