Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 May 2022
In Chapter 10, we assess the broader consequences for the health of our democracy on the process of political discussion in contemporary America. We suggest that this process – while certainly not responsible for psychological forms of polarization among the mass public – certainly contributes to its perpetuation by decreasing the likelihood that Americans engage in meaningful exchange with others whose viewpoints disagree. On the one hand, it may be preferable that Americans seem to prioritize protecting their relationships, stretching the social fabric across the political divide. But there are reasons to be concerned that this process exacerbates stereotyped thinking. It appears that Americans don’t want to follow with the prescription of previous researchers who suggest that our ailments can be remedied if only we talk with knowledgeable others.
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