There’s a lot of evidence suggesting that Americans trust each other less and less. But new research suggests an unorthodox solution to our political divide: firmly expressing our political opinions, even when they might prove unpopular.
“Across five studies using a variety of contentious social issues, I found evidence that people trust others who demonstrate strong feelings about social issues, even when they disagree with or dislike them,” reports Julian Zlatev of Harvard Business School. In contrast, he found “low rates of trust toward individuals who care little about these issues.”
“Individuals who care about contentious social issues signal to observers that they have integrity, and thus can be trusted,” Zlatev writes in the journal Psychological Science. Perhaps optimistically, he adds that this knowledge could inspire “interventions to help mitigate the growing ideological divide.”
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