The Psychology of Political Polarization


Book Description

The Psychology of Political Polarization was inspired by the notion that, to understand the momentum of radical political movements, it is important to understand the attitudes of individual citizens who support such movements. Leading political psychologists have contributed to this important book, in which they share their latest ideas about political polarization – a complex phenomenon that cannot be traced back to a single cause, and that is associated with intolerance, overconfidence, and irrational beliefs. The book explores the basis of political polarization as being how citizens think and feel about people with a different worldview, how they perceive minority groups, and how much they trust leaders and experts on pressing societal issues such as climate change, health, international relations, and poverty. The chapters are organized into two sections that examine what psychological processes and what social factors contribute to polarization among regular citizens. The book also describes practical strategies and interventions to depolarize people. The book offers a state-of-the-art introduction to the psychology of political polarization which will appeal to the academic market and political professionals.




Social Psychology of Political Polarization


Book Description

The 21st-century political landscape has been defined by deep ideological polarization, and as a result scientific inquiry into the psychological mechanisms underlying this divide has taken on increased relevance. The topic is by no means new to social psychology. Classic literature on intergroup conflict shows how pervasive and intractable these group conflicts can be, how readily they can emerge from even minimal group identities, and the hedonic rewards reaped from adopting an "us vs. them" perspective. Indeed, this literature paints a bleak picture for the efficacy of any interventions geared toward reducing intergroup discord. But advances in the psychology of moral judgments and behavior, in particular greater understanding of how moral concerns might inform the creation and stability of political identities, offer new ways forward in understanding partisan divides. This volume brings together leading researchers in moral and political psychology, offering new perspectives on the moral roots of political ideology, and exciting new opportunities for the development of more effective applied interventions.




Why We're Polarized


Book Description

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2022 One of Bill Gates’s “5 books to read this summer,” this New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller shows us that America’s political system isn’t broken. The truth is scarier: it’s working exactly as designed. In this “superbly researched” (The Washington Post) and timely book, journalist Ezra Klein reveals how that system is polarizing us—and how we are polarizing it—with disastrous results. “The American political system—which includes everyone from voters to journalists to the president—is full of rational actors making rational decisions given the incentives they face,” writes political analyst Ezra Klein. “We are a collection of functional parts whose efforts combine into a dysfunctional whole.” “A thoughtful, clear and persuasive analysis” (The New York Times Book Review), Why We’re Polarized reveals the structural and psychological forces behind America’s descent into division and dysfunction. Neither a polemic nor a lament, this book offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump’s rise to the Democratic Party’s leftward shift to the politicization of everyday culture. America is polarized, first and foremost, by identity. Everyone engaged in American politics is engaged, at some level, in identity politics. Over the past fifty years in America, our partisan identities have merged with our racial, religious, geographic, ideological, and cultural identities. These merged identities have attained a weight that is breaking much in our politics and tearing at the bonds that hold this country together. Klein shows how and why American politics polarized around identity in the 20th century, and what that polarization did to the way we see the world and one another. And he traces the feedback loops between polarized political identities and polarized political institutions that are driving our system toward crisis. “Well worth reading” (New York magazine), this is an “eye-opening” (O, The Oprah Magazine) book that will change how you look at politics—and perhaps at yourself.




The Way Out


Book Description

The partisan divide in the United States has widened to a chasm. Legislators vote along party lines and rarely cross the aisle. Political polarization is personal, too—and it is making us miserable. Surveys show that Americans have become more fearful and hateful of supporters of the opposing political party and imagine that they hold much more extreme views than they actually do. We have cordoned ourselves off: we prefer to date and marry those with similar opinions and are less willing to spend time with people on the other side. How can we loosen the grip of this toxic polarization and start working on our most pressing problems? The Way Out offers an escape from this morass. The social psychologist Peter T. Coleman explores how conflict resolution and complexity science provide guidance for dealing with seemingly intractable political differences. Deploying the concept of attractors in dynamical systems, he explains why we are stuck in this rut as well as the unexpected ways that deeply rooted oppositions can and do change. Coleman meticulously details principles and practices for navigating and healing the difficult divides in our homes, workplaces, and communities, blending compelling personal accounts from his years of working on entrenched conflicts with lessons from leading-edge research. The Way Out is a vital and timely guide to breaking free from the cycle of mutual contempt in order to better our lives, relationships, and country.




The Psychology of Political Behavior in a Time of Change


Book Description

This volume seeks to add a unique perspective on the complex relationship between psychology and politics, focusing on three analytical points of view: 1) psychology, politics, and complex thought, 2) bio/psycho/social factors of masculinity and power, and 3) underlying factors in political behavior. Contributors examine recent political events worldwide through a psychological lens, using interdisciplinary approaches to seek a deeper understanding of contemporary political ideas, psychologies, and behaviors. Finally, the book offers suggestions for surviving and thriving during rapid political change. Among the topics discussed: Biopsychological factors of political beliefs and behaviors Understanding political polarization through a cognitive lens Impact of psychological processes on voter decision making Motivations for believing in conspiracy theories Nonverbal cues in leadership Authoritarian responses to social change The Psychology of Political Behavior in a Time of Change is a timely and insightful volume for students and researchers in psychology, political science, gender studies, business and marketing, and sociology, as well as those working in applied settings: practitioners, government workers, NGOs, corporate organizations.




Uncivil Agreement


Book Description

The psychology behind political partisanship: “The kind of research that will change not just how you think about the world but how you think about yourself.” —Ezra Klein, Vox Political polarization in America has moved beyond disagreements about matters of policy. For the first time in decades, research has shown that members of both parties hold strongly unfavorable views of their opponents. This is polarization rooted in social identity, and it is growing. The campaign and election of Donald Trump laid bare this fact of the American electorate, its successful rhetoric of “us versus them” tapping into a powerful current of anger and resentment. With Uncivil Agreement, Lilliana Mason looks at the growing social gulf across racial, religious, and cultural lines, which have recently come to divide neatly between the two major political parties. She argues that group identifications have changed the way we think and feel about ourselves and our opponents. Even when Democrats and Republicans can agree on policy outcomes, they tend to view one other with distrust and to work for party victory over all else. Although the polarizing effects of social divisions have simplified our electoral choices and increased political engagement, they have not been a force that is, on balance, helpful for American democracy. Bringing together theory from political science and social psychology, Uncivil Agreement clearly describes this increasingly “social” type of polarization, and adds much to our understanding of contemporary politics.




Love Your Enemies


Book Description

NATIONAL BESTSELLER To get ahead today, you have to be a jerk, right? Divisive politicians. Screaming heads on television. Angry campus activists. Twitter trolls. Today in America, there is an “outrage industrial complex” that prospers by setting American against American, creating a “culture of contempt”—the habit of seeing people who disagree with us not as merely incorrect, but as worthless and defective. Maybe, like more than nine out of ten Americans, you dislike it. But hey, either you play along, or you’ll be left behind, right? Wrong. In Love Your Enemies, social scientist and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller From Strength to Strength Arthur C. Brooks shows that abuse and outrage are not the right formula for lasting success. Brooks blends cutting-edge behavioral research, ancient wisdom, and a decade of experience leading one of America’s top policy think tanks in a work that offers a better way to lead based on bridging divides and mending relationships. Brooks’ prescriptions are unconventional. To bring America together, we shouldn’t try to agree more. There is no need for mushy moderation, because disagreement is the secret to excellence. Civility and tolerance shouldn’t be our goals, because they are hopelessly low standards. And our feelings toward our foes are irrelevant; what matters is how we choose to act. Love Your Enemies offers a clear strategy for victory for a new generation of leaders. It is a rallying cry for people hoping for a new era of American progress. Most of all, it is a roadmap to arrive at the happiness that comes when we choose to love one another, despite our differences.




Polarization


Book Description

The 2016 election of Donald J. Trump invoked a time for reflection about the state of American politics and its deep ideological, cultural, racial, regional, and economic divisions. But one aspect that the contemporary discussions often miss is that these fissures have been opening over several decades and are deeply rooted in the structure of American politics and society. In Polarization: What Everyone Needs to Know® Nolan McCarty takes readers through what scholars know and don't know about the origins, development, and implications of our rising political conflicts, delving into social, economic, and geographic determinants of polarization in the United States. While the current political climate seems to suggest that extreme views are becoming more popular, McCarty also argues that, contrary to popular belief, the 2016 election was a natural outgrowth of 40 years of polarized politics, rather than a significant break with the past. He evaluates arguments over which factors that have created this state of affairs, including gerrymandered legislative districts, partisan primary nomination systems, and our private campaign finance system. He also considers the potential of major reforms such as instating proportional representation or ranked choice voting to remedy extreme polarization. A concise overview of a complex and crucial topic in US politics, this book is for anyone wanting to understand how to repair the cracks in our system.




Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics


Book Description

Although politics at the elite level has been polarized for some time, a scholarly controversy has raged over whether ordinary Americans are polarized. This book argues that they are and that the reason is growing polarization of worldviews - what guides people's view of right and wrong and good and evil. These differences in worldview are rooted in what Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan D. Weiler describe as authoritarianism. They show that differences of opinion concerning the most provocative issues on the contemporary issue agenda - about race, gay marriage, illegal immigration, and the use of force to resolve security problems - reflect differences in individuals' levels of authoritarianism. Events and strategic political decisions have conspired to make all these considerations more salient. The authors demonstrate that the left and the right have coalesced around these opposing worldviews, which has provided politics with more incandescent hues than before.




Grandstanding


Book Description

We are all guilty of it. We call people terrible names in conversation or online. We vilify those with whom we disagree, and make bolder claims than we could defend. We want to be seen as taking the moral high ground not just to make a point, or move a debate forward, but to look a certain way--incensed, or compassionate, or committed to a cause. We exaggerate. In other words, we grandstand. Nowhere is this more evident than in public discourse today, and especially as it plays out across the internet. To philosophers Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke, who have written extensively about moral grandstanding, such one-upmanship is not just annoying, but dangerous. As politics gets more and more polarized, people on both sides of the spectrum move further and further apart when they let grandstanding get in the way of engaging one another. The pollution of our most urgent conversations with self-interest damages the very causes they are meant to forward. Drawing from work in psychology, economics, and political science, and along with contemporary examples spanning the political spectrum, the authors dive deeply into why and how we grandstand. Using the analytic tools of psychology and moral philosophy, they explain what drives us to behave in this way, and what we stand to lose by taking it too far. Most importantly, they show how, by avoiding grandstanding, we can re-build a public square worth participating in.