YANSS 237 – How to bridge divides on wedge issues by revealing shared values and avoiding reactance

New research suggests people on opposite sides of wedge issues want to listen to each other. We are each eager to hear differing opinions and understand opposing views, and when we do it can change our minds (at least a little), but only when we aren’t triggered by the psychological phenomenon of reactance – one of several ideas we explore in this episode.

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In this episode, we are joined by Cornell economist Michèle Belot who walks us through her new paper, coauthored with Guglielmo Briscese at the University of Chicago, titled Bridging America’s Divide on Abortion, Guns and Immigration: An Experimental Study.

You’ll hear all about the contact hypothesis, the minimal group paradigm, and reactance as we get into the major finding of the paper summed up here in the abstract:

Dr. Michèle Belot

From Michèle Belot’s official bio:

“Michèle Belot is Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics and at the School of Industrial Labor Relations.

She held previous appointments in the United Kingdom (University of Edinburgh, Oxford University and the University of Essex) and at the European University Institute. She obtained her Ph.D. in Economics from Tilburg University (CentER) in 2003.

Her research interests are broadly in applied microeconomics, with a special interest in experimental work in areas related to labour, health and education. She has published in journals such as the Review of Economic Studies, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Health Economics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and The Economic Journal. She is the current President of the European Association of Labour Economists.

Her recent work consists of designing and testing interventions using randomized controlled trials, in the domains of health and job search. In the domain of health, her work focuses on interventions designed to encourage individuals to adopt healthier behaviors. Most interventions tested target children and low income families. In the domain of job search, the interventions are aimed at providing relevant information to job seekers.”

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Links and Sources

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Previous Episodes

Michèle Belot on Twitter

Bridging America’s Divide on Abortion, Guns and Immigration:
An Experimental Study