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2019 International Association for Conflict Management Conference

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Bridging Political Divides by Focusing on Shared Moral Values

Keywords: Intergroup Relations, Political Prejudice, Dehumanization, Political Polarization

Abstract: Liberals and conservatives are becoming increasingly divided and there is initial evidence that this divide is taking a toll on workplace behaviors. In this paper we examine whether we can increase partisan’s willingness to engage with political opponents by appealing to shared moral values. Studies 1 & 2 reveal a link between perceived moral similarity and people’s willingness to engage with political opponents. Studies 3-5 test two simple moral-similarity-increasing experimental manipulations that decrease dehumanization of political opponents and increase people’s willingness to engage and work with political opponents. Across these studies, highlighting moral similarity decreases dehumanization and increases willingness to engage with political opponents.

Chelsea Schein, The Wharton School of Business

Emily Kubin, UNC, Chapel Hill

Yochanan Bigman, UNC, Chapel Hill

Kurt Gray, UNC, Chapel Hill


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