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Moving political opponents closer: How kama muta can contribute to reducing the partisan divide in the US

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  • Johanna K. Blomster Lyshol, University of Oslo, Bjørknes University College
  • ,
  • Beate Seibt, University of Oslo, University Institute of Lisbon
  • ,
  • Mary Beth Oliver, Pennsylvania State University
  • ,
  • Lotte Thomsen

Dislike of political opponents has increased over the past years in the US. This paper presents a preregistered study investigating the effect of kama muta (being moved by sudden closeness) on increasing warmth, social closeness, and trust toward political opponents through including them in a common American identity. Eight hundred forty-one U.S. Americans watched either a moving or a neutral video about the US or a different theme in a full-factorial design. We found main effects of emotion and theme on the increase of warmth, social closeness, and trust toward political opponents through viewing them as fellow Americans. Accordingly, the linear combination of moving U.S. videos showed the largest increase in warmth, social closeness, and trust. Exploratory analyses showed that moving U.S.-themed videos evoked the most kama muta from suddenly increasing one’s identification with the US. This suggests that kama muta is an important, and heretofore largely overlooked, emotional process promoting common in-group identification.

TidsskriftGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Sider (fra-til)493-511
Antal sider19
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2023

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