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

Johanna K. Blomster Lyshol*, Beate Seibt, Mary Beth Oliver, Lotte Thomsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Volume26
Issue2
Pages (from-to)493-511
Number of pages19
ISSN1368-4302
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • affective polarization
  • common ingroup identity
  • kama muta
  • moved
  • U.S. politics

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