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October 2020​

Study from the Center for Science of Moral Understanding at the University of North Carolina


Can informal glimpses into how our political opponents reason through dilemmas build understanding across ideological divides?

How did they
test it?

The Decision Point video series features clips of politicians solving policy dilemmas that are not related to contentious political topics. They recruited 400 participants to watch either the Decision Point video series, campaign ads or biological descriptions of the same politicians. To test whether shared experiences further build understanding, a fourth group of participants also solved the same policy dilemma before watching the politicians do so in the Decision Point series (this group is labelled “Decision Point +” in the figures below.)

What did they

For both Democrats and Republican participants, the Decision Point video series made political opponents appear more rational and built greater respect across the ideological divide compared to watching them talk about issues in campaign ads or reading about their personal history. Sharing the experience of solving the dilemma with the politicans tended to build understanding to an even greater degree. Short glimpses into our opponents’ thought processes are a promising strategy for building political understanding.


View More Research

Bridging Divides with Decision Point: Pilot Results Summary

Authentic Cross-Partisan Conversation Increase Respect for Outgroup Politicians

How Decision Point Bridges Divides

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