Deepening polarization among Democrats and Republicans in the United States represents a major challenge to American political and social life. Left unaddressed, it will further weaken the United States domestically and around the world.
Beyond Conflict is working to create accurate, accessible, and actionable measurements and tools for policymakers, practitioners, funders, and others interested in reducing polarization in order to create better informed responses and programs across the United States. Current measurements of, and efforts to reduce polarization are limited, rarely evaluated, and do not account for the psychological underpinnings that sustain and deepen polarization. Promising new tools from cognitive and behavioral science are now available to both explain and address this urgent need.
In partnership with OverZero, a leading organization at the cutting edge of polarization reduction, Beyond Conflict will provide a baseline assessment and will measure cognitive and unconscious mechanisms that sustain polarization. The index will also be used as a source of reference for organizations (e.g. journalists, politicians, civic organizations, advocacy groups, religious and other local and national organizations) looking to determine if they are increasing or decreasing polarization.
After this research is completed, the polarization index and field-testing toolkit will be available online to support anti-polarization initiatives and programming.