Debiasing and the Abortion Debate: An Analysis of Integrative Complexity
Noel, Hans C
Research has indicated that partisan polarization is growing, and while partisanship itself is not inherently destructive, unchecked polarization may debilitate the healthy functioning of the American democracy. Additional research indicates that citizens and politicians are subject to motivated reasoning, which may serve to spur further polarization. In response, the current study represents an attempt to mitigate the cognitive biases related to motivated reasoning. A between-groups, online survey experiment was performed in order to test the debiasing technique of accountability by measuring the integrative complexity of participants’ expressed opinions on abortion. The hypothesis that the intervention would cause greater integrative complexity in the treatment group in comparison to the control was found to be null. However, the difference in the mean scores of integrative complexity was significantly moderated by political knowledge. Implications of the results for future debiasing in the online context attempts are discussed.
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