Just the facts: Information access can shrink political divide – Evan Apfelbaum & Erik Duhaime

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Evan Apfelbaum

MIT Sloan Ph.D. student Erik Duhaime

From The Hill

Political polarization in the U.S. is at its highest level in decades. This isn’t surprising, especially in the wake of the recent presidential election.

It’s hard to go on social media, much less cable news these days and not see reports that support one political side and vilify the other. Is there any hope for bringing the country closer together? We think so.

In a recent study, we found that the way information is presented can influence political polarization. When it is presented in a way that engages people in an objective analysis of the information at hand, political polarization can decrease. Yet when the same information provokes people to think about their relevant political preferences, people remain polarized.

In other words, people might moderate their views when they have more information on how a contentious policy works, but not if they’re busy thinking about what they want or why they want it.

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