Research

Polarization and Social Change Lab

Rising political polarization and declining civility in political engagement are critical social problems of our time in part because they stand as barriers to addressing all other social problems. Without addressing entrenched political divisions, effective action on pressing challenges like global warming, poverty, immigration, and health care is impossible.

Beyond paralyzing government, political polarization increasingly threatens the credibility of science, journalism, universities, research institutions, and expertise more generally. Unfounded skepticism around empirical evidence and scientific findings threatens the stability of democratic institutions. These problems are getting worse and are not obviously self-limiting. There is good reason to expect current trends to continue, with potentially devastating consequences for political, ecological, and economic stability.

Our lab addresses these problems through research on actionable solutions sufficient to check rising polarization and incivility in the U.S. and abroad. Our multidisciplinary team theorizes interventions, rigorously evaluates them with experimental and observational data, and investigates their effective dissemination to political leaders and the general public.