A1 Journal article – refereed
What drives the polarisation and moderation of opinions? Evidence from a Finnish citizen deliberation experiment on immigration

List of Authors: Marina Lindell, André Bächtiger, Kimmo Grönlund, Kaisa Herne, Maija Setälä, Dominik Wyss
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Publication year: 2017
Journal: European Journal of Political Research
Volume number: 56
eISSN: 1475-6765


In the study of deliberation, a largely under-explored area is why some
participants polarise their opinion after deliberation and why others
moderate them. Opinion polarisation is usually considered a suspicious
outcome of deliberation, while moderation is seen as a desirable one.
This article takes issue with this view. Results from a Finnish
deliberative experiment on immigration show that polarisers and
moderators were not different in socioeconomic, cognitive or affective
profiles. Moreover, both polarisation and moderation can entail
deliberatively desired pathways: in the experiment, both polarisers and
moderators learned during deliberation, levels of empathy were fairly
high on both sides, and group pressures barely mattered. Finally, the
low physical presence of immigrants in some discussion groups was
associated with polarisation in the anti-immigrant direction, bolstering
longstanding claims regarding the importance of presence for democratic politics.

Internal Authors/Editors

Last updated on 2019-22-03 at 16:11