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Perspective taking with opponents in political discussions.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2006 (English)In: SPSP meeting: Palm Springs, January, 2006., 2006Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

Previous research has shown that people show approximately the same attribution biases for their own and others’ attitudes, as they do when attributing causes of own and others’ behavior, i.e. attributing opponents’ attitudes more to internal, ideological, or non normative causes, and own attitudes more to external or normative causes. Attribution biases can be reversed with an instruction to take opponents’ perspective. In the current study different ways of achieving perspective taking with opponents were tested in political discussions in small groups.

Perspective taking (either mentally or by role-playing) was assumed to lead to better quality of discussion, more moderate post-discussion attitudes, and less biased attributions of own and other participants’ attitudes. Students and politicians (N=60) in a small Swedish town participated in group discussion experiments (average group size 4). The topics of discussion related to immigration policies. Own attitudes were rated before and after discussion. Perceived quality of discussion, other group members’ attitudes, and attributions of own and others’ attitudes were measured after discussions. The results showed few effects of perspective taking on attitudes and perceived quality of discussions, e. g. attitudes became more moderate for groups with mental perspective taking instruction, compared to the control group. Participants underestimated how extreme other people’s attitudes were. Politicians were more satisfied with the discussions than students were both with their own contribution to the discussions and the discussion as a whole. There were few differences in the attributions of what self and other group members said during discussions, and few effects of perspective taking on attributions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
perspective taking, attribution, discussion
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-21371OAI: diva2:187898
Available from: 2007-12-10 Created: 2007-12-10Bibliographically approved

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ReferencesLink to record
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