DKK 6.2 million IRFD grant awarded to Troels Bøggild

Associate Professor of Political Science Troels Bøggild has received a grant from the Independent Research Fund Denmark of DKK 6.2 million for his project on affective polarisation.

"It's an important pat on the back from research colleagues I admire, and an indication that my research agenda is worthwhile. I’m very grateful, and it motivates me even more to continue my work," says Troels Bøggild, associate professor of political science.

He has been awarded a DKK 6.2 million Research Project2 grant within social sciences from the Independent Research Fund Denmark.

The grant was awarded for the project Partisan Peer Pressure and Affective Polarization (PEERPOL) on the causes of affective polarisation (expressing negative feelings towards people with opposing political identities to one’s own) and effective tools against it:

“This grant means I’ll be able to hire talented people and gather an international group of top researchers. Together, we can then begin extensive transnational data collections to learn more about why supporters of different parties lose understanding for each other and how we can reverse this trend,” says Troels Bøggild.

More about Troels Bøggild's IRFD project

Several countries are experiencing increasing affective polarisation between supporters of rival political parties. Citizens express less understanding for the ideas of supporters of parties other than their own and are more inclined to discriminate against them.

It is a worrying phenomenon because it weakens cohesion and trust in society, and in some extreme cases it leads to political violence and hate crimes.

Research has primarily related affective polarisation to the behaviour and rhetoric of the elite, especially media and politicians. The project focuses on the role citizens play in creating affective polarisation when they communicate about politics in social networks, including social media.

Based on the theory of psychological biases, the project theorises that citizens selectively communicate and share information that shows their party in a positive light and their rival parties in a negative light. This type of party-motivated, selective information sharing is likely to be ineffective in relation to changing other people's support for parties, but is likely to increase polarisation and discrimination between supporters of different parties in social networks.

The project will develop interventions to increase the balance of information sharing by citizens, thereby reducing polarisation and discrimination between supporters of different parties. This will be examined using experimental studies embedded in surveys and on social media in Denmark and the USA. The results will provide new knowledge about the causes of affective polarisation and effective tools against it.

Further info

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