How to tackle political polarization — the researchers trying to bridge divides

Political divisions are intensifying, threatening democracies around the world. What strategies bring people closer together again?

In the United States, some people seem comfortable with the idea of using violence to hash out political differences. In a study published last year4, political scientist Sean Westwood at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and his colleagues found that between 1% and 7% of participants favoured such tactics.

"I'm deeply troubled," says Westwood. An especially insidious consequence of partisan animosity, in his view, is the way political beliefs are seeping into aspects of life they shouldn't impact, including hiring practices and even physicians' advice.

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