Civility & Democracy

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Research Summary

How does the civility of online interactions affect the quality of democratic decision-making?  Recent evidence suggests that incivility can increase participation, which is often thought of as desirable for good democracy.  However, other research suggests that increasing incivility can reduce individuals’ ability to process information, and to reason clearly about contentious political topics. Here we use a series of online experiments with Democrats and Republicans discussing contentious political issues to determine the impact of both civility and incivility on the collective intelligence of the group’s decision.

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