RESEARCH THEMES

Polarization

Polarization is a worrying development in many democracies. Especially when this concerns deep mutual disliking of groups with opposing political views or identities. Arguably, this mutual dislike is rooted in personality differences, or even physiological differences between liberals and conservatives. The Hot Politics Lab investigates the nature and origins of (affective) polarization. So far, we cannot replicate the evidence for differences in physiological responses of liberals and conservatives. We do find that partisanship has strong effects. People feel disgust for politicians from the opposing side. They literally pull up their noses when seeing them. The stronger people identify with parties, the more likely they are to follow cues from their party leaders. Surprisingly, also people with more cognitive resources are more likely to follow these cues. The economy matters too, in particular relative deprivation contributes to polarization.   

In the table below you will find a selection of our publications that address the issue of polarization. For more accessible reads on our work, we suggest the following:

– We Tried to Publish a Replication of a Science Paper in Science. The Journal Refused. Slate

Publications

Nr.CitationSupplement
Ariel Malka, Yphtach Lelkes, Bert N. Bakker, and Eliyahu Spivack (in-Press): Who is open to authoritarian governance in western democracies. Perspectives on Politics.
Bert Bakker, Gijs Schumacher & Maaike Homan (in-press). Yikes. Are we disgusted by politicians? Politics and Life Sciences.Replication
Bert Bakker, Yphtach Lelkes & Ariel Malka (in press). Understanding partisan cue receptivity: Tests from predictions from the bounded rationality and expressive utility perspectives . The Journal of Politics.
Bert Bakker, Gijs Schumacher, Claire Gothreau & Kevin Arceneaux (2020). Conservatives and Liberals have Similar Physiological Responses to Threats . Nature Human Behaviour.Replication
Matthijs Rooduijn & Brian Burgoon (2018) The Paradox of Wellbeing: Do Unfavorable Socioeconomic and Sociocultural Contexts Deepen or Dampen Radical Left and Right Voting Among the Less Well-Off? Comparative Political Studies.Replication
Matthijs Rooduijn, Brian Burgoon, Erika van Elsas & Herman van de Werfhorst (2017). Radical Distinction: Support for Radical Left and Radical Right Parties in Europe . European Union Politics.Replication
Bert Bakker & Claes de Vreese (2016). Personality and European Union attitudes: Relationships across European Union attitude dimensions . European Union Politics.Blog
Bert Bakker, David Hopmann, & Mikael Persson (2015). Personality traits and party identification over time. European Journal of Political Research.