People's capacities to categorize, interpret, and go "beyond the information given" readily lead to the stereotyping and dehumanization that escalate and entrench group conflict. This paper focuses on opposing partisans' tendency to exaggerate their opponent's extremism and the magnitude of their conflict. It is possited that opposing partisans follow a straightforward inferential path--here called "naive realism"--To conclusions about their opponent's attitudes and preferences. In testing this naive realism hypothesis, the attitudes of opposing partisans to the conflicts over abortion, racial violence, criminal justice, government budget cuts, and the Western Canon are surveyed. The paper first presents research documenting bias, then considers how imagined extremism intensifies social conflicts, and then concludes by discussing how partisans with power, compared to those without, judge their conflicts in more biased ways but themselves are judged more accurately.
Extremism, Power, and the Imagined Basis of Social Conflict
Publication Year: 1995
Publisher: Division of Research, Harvard Business School
Sources ID: 22902
Zotero Collections: Contexts of Contemplation Project