Several scholars have recently proposed that intellectual humility (IH) may be able to ameliorate pressing societal problems stemming from undue certainty in people’s views and intolerance for opposing views, such as ideological (e.g., political, religious) polarization, especially affective polarizaton. The widening partisan divide in the U.S. likely amplifies already formidable difficulties with achieving consensus on policy issues and is especially problematic at a time when openness to alternative solutions is needed. Nevertheless, IH’s capacity to temper affective polarization and mutual antipathy is poorly understood. It is also unclear whether IH relates to personality and attitudinal processes that can attenuate biases related to affective polarization. This project aims to draw on an array of self-reported nd laboratory-based criterion variables from social cognition, affective science, and clinical psychology to test the hypothesis that IH reduces political and religious polarization even among those who hold strong ideological commitments. We will also test the hypothesis that IH exerts buffering effects on affective ideology via proposed mechanisms drawn from theory and research on political polarization, such as anger in response to challenges to one’s ideology and empathy toward those holding opposing views. This work has the potential to clarify IH’s nature, boundaries, and implications for tempering affective polarization and mutual antipathy writ large.
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