Our BLOG

Thoughts and Inspiration for Connecting Across Differences

Bringing It Home

Ask any of your friends or family members why America is polarized these days and they’re likely to give you answers ranging from social media or

America’s Most Wicked Problem

Toxic polarization is wreaking havoc with our democracy, driving wedges between elected officials, alienating co-workers, and tearing friendships and families apart.  It fuels the divisiveness

Facebook Heartache

I Went to Facebook Seeking Connection. Instead, I found Heartache. I used Facebook for nearly ten years for personal and business use. What started out

The Root of The Political Divide

The Root of The Political Divide The cause of the current oppositional style of political talk is not a problem with the people we’re talking

How We Talk Across Differences

We begin every meeting by letting participants know how we keep our conversations civil, respectful and fun.  Before COVID, we would display posters with this

Why Talking Politics is So Difficult

One of the primary reasons talking politics with someone who has differing views is so challenging is we assume talking politics should be as easy as making sure they have all the facts we have. So we share our facts. But when our facts don’t change their mind, we’re likely to walk away complaining that “they just won’t listen!” or “they’re duped by the fake news they watch.”

We are Crossing Party Lines

What we do is get regular people together to talk about real issues with curious minds and open hearts.

How we do it is by teaching and modeling the skills that allow us to…

0
    0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop

    The Two Types of Depolarization

    Depolarization — the work of reducing toxic polarization — is best understood in terms of the two types of polarization that shape our interactions and perceptions in today’s politically charged climate:

    1. Affective Polarization

    Affective polarization revolves around emotions and feelings. It refers to the emotional divide between individuals or groups with differing political views. It’s about how people feel about others who hold opposing ideologies.

    • Us vs. Them: In affective polarization, people tend to see those on the other side of the political spectrum as part of an “us vs. them” mentality. Emotions like anger, fear, and distrust often come into play.
    • Emotional Reactions: When encountering someone with opposing views, affectively polarized individuals may experience heightened emotions. They might feel threatened, defensive, or even hostile.
    • Echo Chambers: Social media and personalized news feeds can exacerbate affective polarization by reinforcing existing beliefs and isolating individuals from diverse perspectives.

    2. Cognitive Polarization

    Cognitive polarization focuses on thought processes and cognitive biases. It pertains to how people think about the views of others.

    • Discounting Opposing Views: Cognitive polarization leads to a tendency to discount opposing viewpoints without critically evaluating them. People may jump to conclusions, assuming that differing opinions lack validity or logical soundness.
    • Us vs. Them (Again): Just as in affective polarization, cognitive polarization reinforces the “us vs. them” mindset. It hinders open-mindedness and intellectual curiosity.
    • Intellectual Echo Chambers: Cognitive polarization occurs when people surround themselves with like-minded sources, reinforcing their preconceptions and avoiding exposure to alternative perspectives.

    The Interplay Between Affective and Cognitive Polarization

    Affective and cognitive polarization often feed into each other. Emotional reactions (affective) influence how we process information (cognitive), and vice versa.

    Breaking the Cycle: CPL recognizes that depolarization  requires us to address both affective and cognitive aspects. Encouraging empathy and  active listening is not enough.  We must also teach critical thinking and intellectual humility if we are to truly bridge the gap.

    About Bridging

    Bridging refers to the intentional effort to reduce toxic polarization by fostering understanding, empathy, and communication between individuals or groups with differing political views. It aims to build connections and discover our shared humanity, ultimately bridging the gaps that divides people along ideological lines.