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What Motivates Americans To Build Bridges Across Our Divides? Studies On Framing and Fit Effects of Motivational Orientations On Constructive Engagement Across Political and Racial Differences
Today, America and a host of other nations worldwide are dangerously divided. A series of seven experimental studies (N = 2,350) was conducted to identify ways to mobilize more moderate citizens to reengage with democratic processes and more actively foster unity and solidarity across differences. Derived from basic theories of motivation, we tested the effects of prevention versus promotion and assessment versus locomotion mindsets and framing effects on engagement with political and racial bridge-building activities across three political groups (Republican, Democrat, Independent), and three racial groups (White, Black, Non-Black POC). Utilizing confirmatory factor analyses, correlations, t-tests, analysis of variance, and hierarchical regressions, we developed and validated three-point scales to measure these motivational differences that offer crucial information on how to frame bridge-building activities to increase public engagement in depolarizing initiatives.