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Measuring Perspective-Taking with Perspective-Faking: The Ideological Turing Test
How well do opposing groups understand each other? One way to tell is to ask each side to pretend to be the other, then ask both sides to identify the fakers. We did this with Democrats and Republicans (N = 902), randomly assigning them to write either a pro-Democrat or pro-Republican statement. This gave us a large sample of real statements (Democrats and Republicans supporting their own side) and fake statements (Democrats and Republicans supporting the other side). We then showed those statements to another sample of Democrats and Republicans (N = 800) and tasked them with judging which statements were real and which were fake. Writers from both parties were successful at fooling the other side, and equally so; readers’ performance was at chance. Text analysis on the statements reveals areas of mutual understanding and misunderstanding.