POLITICAL SCIENCE

Affective forecasting and partisanship

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Science  29 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6434, pp. 1412-1413
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6434.1412-e

Increasing political polarization is driven in part by voters selectively seeking views that support their preexisting beliefs and avoiding opposing views. Across several experiments, Dorison et al. found that people overestimate how upset they will be from being exposed to views from the opposing political party. For example, Clinton voters overestimated how upset they would be from watching Donald Trump's inaugural address or reading statements by Trump voters. This bias in affective forecasting occurs because voters underestimate their level of agreement with people from the opposite party. Correcting voters' affective forecasts increased their engagement with opposing views. These results have implications for fostering dialogue and reducing political polarization.

People tend to be less upset by opposing views than levels of political polarization would suggest, as can be seen in this dialogue circle in Zion Square, West Jerusalem, Israel.

PHOTO: EDDIE GERALD/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Cognition 10.1016/j.cognition.2019.02.010 (2019).

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