Interventions to Reduce Partisan Animosity


Rising partisan animosity is associated with a reduction in support for democracy and an increase in support for political violence. Here we provide a multi-level review of interventions designed to reduce partisan animosity, which we define as negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours towards a political outgroup. We introduce the TRI framework to capture three levels of intervention—thoughts (correcting misconceptions and highlighting commonalities), relationships (building dialogue skills and fostering positive contact) and institutions (changing public discourse and transforming political structures)—and connect these levels by highlighting the importance of motivation and mobilization. Our review encompasses both interventions conducted as part of academic research projects and real-world interventions led by practitioners in non-profit organizations. We also explore the challenges of durability and scalability, examine self-fulfilling polarization and interventions that backfire, and discuss future directions for reducing partisan animosity.

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