One might be tempted to think that the Yan­kees’ musical tribute to the loathed Red Sox the day after April’s Boston Marathon bomb­ings was an act of basic human decency. But there’s actu­ally more to it than that, said North­eastern Uni­ver­sity psy­chology pro­fessor David DeSteno at Monday’s The City Resilient con­fer­ence in Brooklyn. And the episode points to a capacity for “nudging com­pas­sion” that can be a key to building urban areas that bounce back from tragedy, be it a bombing or nat­ural disaster.

What hap­pened, DeSteno sug­gested, is that an inci­dent of the emo­tional mag­ni­tude of the Boston attacks prompted people to focus on what they shared. “By cat­e­go­rizing them­selves as fans of base­ball, and not fans of the Yan­kees or the Red Sox,” he said, “we actu­ally heard ‘Sweet Car­o­line’ play at Yankee Sta­dium, which doesn’t happen very often” — here, the New York crowd laughed — “because that’s the Red Sox theme song.”

Read the article at Next City →