News & Stories
April 26, 2022

Scholar Explains Political Psychological Barriers

Berry College’s 2022 George Scholar speaker recently discussed human behavior involving politics. 

Leaf Van Boven, chair elect for the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, lectured students on the role psychological scientists play in helping to solve societal challenges through observations with human behavior. Van Boven detailed how to overcome psychological barriers regarding topics such as COVID-19 and climate change.

“We suggest that Democrats and Republicans disagree about effective policy solutions largely for the sake of disagreement,” his research shows. “Democrats and Republicans support climate and Covid-19 policies when those policies are backed by politicians from their own party more than when the same policies are backed by politicians from the other party.”

Van Boven received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Cornell University. His research explores psychological barriers between emotion, judgement and decision making and social cognition. He has served as a fellow with the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia and The Sage Fellowship at Cornell. He was also recognized for outstanding dissertation research in positive psychology from the John Templeton Foundation.

The George Scholar Program is made possible through the Ralph George Berry Scholars Fund and the George family. The program is student-research based and was established for junior and senior psychology majors.

Through the program, students receive a psychology faculty mentor and up to $4,000 in grants. This mentorship and financial support allows students to make outstanding strides academically and professionally through guidance on conducting and presenting research.

For more information on Berry’s psychology department, visit


Written by Public Relations Student Assistant Reed Couch

Office of Public Relations

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