1st Edition

The Psychology of Political Polarization

Edited By Jan-Willem van Prooijen Copyright 2021
    180 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    180 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Psychology of Political Polarization was inspired by the notion that, to understand the momentum of radical political movements, it is important to understand the attitudes of individual citizens who support such movements.

    Leading political psychologists have contributed to this important book, in which they share their latest ideas about political polarization – a complex phenomenon that cannot be traced back to a single cause, and that is associated with intolerance, overconfidence, and irrational beliefs. The book explores the basis of political polarization as being how citizens think and feel about people with a different worldview, how they perceive minority groups, and how much they trust leaders and experts on pressing societal issues such as climate change, health, international relations, and poverty. The chapters are organized into two sections that examine what psychological processes and what social factors contribute to polarization among regular citizens. The book also describes practical strategies and interventions to depolarize people.

    The book offers a state-of-the-art introduction to the psychology of political polarization which will appeal to the academic market and political professionals.

    Chapter 1. The Psychology of Political Polarization: An Introduction

    Jan-Willem van Prooijen


    Section 1 –Underlying Processes of Political Polarization

    Chapter 2. When Do Psychological Differences Predict Political Differences? Engagement and the Psychological Bases of Political Polarization

    Christopher M. Federico

    Chapter 3. The Political Mindset of Supporters of Radical and Populist Parties

    Alain van Hiel, Jasper van Assche, & Tessa Haesevoets

    Chapter 4. A Psychological Profile of Extreme Trump Supporters

    Laura Kinsman & Jeremy A. Frimer

    Chapter 5. The Impact of Relational Goals on Political Polarization

    Chadly Stern


    Section 2 – The Social Context of Political Polarization

    Chapter 6. Support for Populist Parties: Economic Deprivation, Cultural Backlash, or Status Anxiety?

    Jolanda Jetten & Frank Mols

    Chapter 7. The Agreement Paradox: How Pressures to Agree with Others Ultimately Cause More Societal Division

    Lucian Gideon Conway, III, Shannon C. Houck, Linus Chan, Meredith A. Repke, & James D. McFarland

    Chapter 8. Converging Moral Views in Social Networks and its Impact on Protest Violence Marlon Mooijman

    Chapter 9. Can the Partisan Divide in Climate Change Attitudes be Bridged? A Review of Experimental Interventions

    Jacob B. Rode & Peter H. Ditto


    Jan-Willem van Prooijen is Associate Professor of Psychology at Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam, and senior researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR). His main research interests are political polarization, conspiracy theories, and unethical behavior.