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Social relations more important than hard evidence in partisan politics: study

Partisan groupings are becoming extreme, ultimately resulting in the formation of "eco chambers" where political beliefs go uncomfortable and increase…



Partisan groupings are becoming extreme, ultimately resulting in the formation of “eco chambers” where political beliefs go uncomfortable and increase the strength. Credit: Tucker Evans / Dartmouth College.

The basic human need to agree with others results in the formation of extreme political groupings, according to a Dartmouth College study.

The findings, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science add to the broader research section on social and political networks.

The Dartmouth survey shows that individuals often ignore essential information when making opinions, resulting in partisanship and division. By explaining the underlying factors responsible for divisional divisions, the study provides a deeper understanding of current differences in the United States.

Three factors imply the formation of social and political groups according to research: social pressure to get stronger views, the relationship between the individual’s opinions and their social neighbors and the benefits of having social relations.

A key idea studied in the newspaper is that people choose their views and their connections to avoid disagreements with their social neighbors. By joining like-minded groups, individuals also prevent the psychological stress, or “cognitive dissonance”, to consider opinions that do not match their own.

“Human social trends are the basis for political behavior,” said Tucker Evans, senior at Dartmouth who led the study. “In the end, strong relationships can have more value than hard evidence, even for things that some would take as proven fact.”

To complete the study, the team developed a mathematical model that considers how individuals receive information as well as the social pressure they feel that they match specific political views. The model helped scientists understand how divisions are formed and how they are intensified into greater partisanship and increased polarization.

In the aftermath of recent US mid-term elections, the study contributes to explaining how partyian groups are developing to extremes, ultimately resulting in the formation of “eco chambers”, where political beliefs go uncomfortable and increase the strength. “

” Understanding opinion development is a major research interest and is necessary in connection with modern politics, “said Feng Fu, a professor of mathematics at Dartmouth, who advised on the research.” We wanted to know how the structure of groups can change how individuals develops their beliefs and how those beliefs can then develop into blocks like those we see in social media. “

The team tracked how small changes in society improve the stability of groups. Given the right conditions, these changes lead to the grouping of individuals who share The same views and division into different populations. This self-reinforcing structure copies the partisan bubbles seen in politics and some media.

According to the research paper, interaction within a social network creates complex structures similar to the political sub-municipalities developed for ideological reasons “from democrats and Republicans to Profession Vaccination and a nt vaccination groups. “

” In countries such as the United States, when individuals act to minimize disagreement and unity in their social groups, the result may be complete breakdown at national level, “Evans says.” Understand how this happens can help people act on a ways that are more favorable to the common good.

To validate the results, researchers studied voting rights from the United States Representative House from 1

949-2011. Congress data supports the use of the model to understand the real party ownership.

The Dartmouth research report is based on existing studies that identify the characteristics of social networks. The new study increases understanding by showing how certain trends affect individuals in the social networks.

In the future, the team will study how the validity of specific opinions comes into play and when evidence begins to play a role in the formation of opinions. Future research will also consider the application of multiple levels of opinion, digging into the world of belief “systems” as opposed to individual beliefs.


Explore further:
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More information:
Tucker Evans et al., Opinion on Dynamic Networks: Identifying Prerequisites for the Development of Party Covenants, Royal Society Open Science (2018). DOI: 10,1098 / rsos.181122

Journal Reference:
Royal Society Open Science

Provided by:
Dartmouth College

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