Reducing Exclusionary Attitudes Through Interpersonal Conversation: Evidence From Three Field Experiments

Author(s): 

Joshua L. Kalla and David E. Broockman

ISPS ID: 
ISPS20-01
Full citation: 
Kalla, Joshua L. and David E. Broockman (2020). Reducing Exclusionary Attitudes Through Interpersonal Conversation: Evidence From Three Field Experiments. American Political Science Review. 114(2), 410-425. DOI:10.1017/S0003055419000923
Abstract: 
Exclusionary attitudes—prejudice towards outgroups and opposition to policies that pro-mote their well-being—are presenting challenges to democratic societies worldwide. Drawingon insights from psychology, we argue that non-judgmentally exchanging narratives in inter-personal conversations can facilitate durable reductions in exclusionary attitudes. We supportthis argument with evidence from three pre-registered field experiments targeting exclusion-ary attitudes towards unauthorized immigrants and transgender people. In these experiments,230 canvassers conversed with 6,869 voters across 7 U.S. locations. In Experiment 1, face-to-face conversations deploying arguments alone had no effects on voters’ exclusionary im-migration policy or prejudicial attitudes, but otherwise identical conversations also includingthe non-judgmental exchange of narratives durably reduced exclusionary attitudes for at leastfour months (d= 0.08). Experiments 2 and 3, targeting transphobia, replicate these findingsand support the scalability of this strategy (ds= 0.08,0.04). Non-judgmentally exchangingnarratives can help overcome the resistance to persuasion often encountered in discussions ofthese contentious topics.
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Link to pre-print here.

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Publication date: 
2020
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