Correcting inaccurate metaperceptions reduces Americans' support for partisan violence

Joseph S. Mernyk, Sophia L. Pink, James N. Druckman, Robb Willer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

SignificanceProminent events, such as the 2021 US Capitol attack, have brought politically motivated violence to the forefront of Americans' minds. Yet, the causes of support for partisan violence remain poorly understood. Across four studies, we found evidence that exaggerated perceptions of rival partisans' support for violence are a major cause of partisans' own support for partisan violence. Further, correcting these false beliefs reduces partisans' support for and willingness to engage in violence, especially among those with the largest misperceptions, and this effect endured for 1 mo. These findings suggest that a simple correction of partisans' misperceptions could be a practical and scalable way to durably reduce Americans' support for, and intentions to engage in, partisan violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e2116851119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume119
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 19 2022

Keywords

  • conflict
  • metaperceptions
  • political polarization
  • political violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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