EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Are you tired of America’s divisive and volatile political climate?
Affective polarization–or, the tendency to dislike people from opposing political parties–is a global bias, rather than American, says a new study by an interdisciplinary team of researches from six countries.
“You can imagine how frustrating it is to interact with someone who seems to think about things in a similar way and who shares the same basic logic of how things work as you do, but you come to the opposite conclusions,” said Mark Brandt, associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University.
Brandt said that this sharing of basic logic, in spite of opposite conclusions, is indicative of competition between two groups.
“We think that sharing a way of thinking about issues with a political outgroup is likely a signal that they are competitors in the political system,” Brand said.
The multidisciplinary study, led by Felicity Turner-Zwinkels of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, looked at the underlying factors that cause affective polarization.
The result was that across the world, people’s dislike of a political outgroup correlates with how much they disagree with the group.
MSU’s Brandt said the study is important because it explains on a global scale what has been widely discussed as an American problem.
“This shows that it is global and not just an American phenomenon,” Brandt said. “People should care because it helps better explain the way humans interact with each other in the realm of politics.”
What’s the solution to such widespread polarization?
The study suggests two approaches. One is to emphasize shared opinions between the political groups–in other words, focusing on what they have in common.
The other suggestion, according to the study, is to find new and innovative ways to contemplate political issues and their interconnectedness.