Two studies examined misperceptions of disagreement in partisan social conflicts, namely, in the debates over abortion (Study 1) and politics (Study 2). We observed that partisans tend to exaggerate differences of opinion with their adversaries. Further, we found that perceptions of disagreement were more pronounced for values that were central to the perceiver's own ideology than for values that were central to the ideology of the perceiver's adversaries. To the extent that partisans assumed disagreement concerning personally important values, they were also inaccurate in perceiving their adversaries' actual opinions. Discussion focuses on the cognitive mechanisms underlying misperceptions of disagreement and strategies for reducing inter- group conflict.
Repository citation: Chambers, John R.; Baron, Robert S.; and Inman, Mary L., "Misperceptions in Intergroup Conflict: Disagreeing About What We Disagree About" (2006). Faculty Publications. Paper 1520.
Published in: Psychological Science, Volume 17, Issue 1, January 1, 2006, pages 38-45. Copyright © 2006 SAGE.