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After RepressionHow Polarization Derails Democratic Transition$
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Elizabeth R. Nugent

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691203058

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691203058.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Identity and Polarization in the Lab

Identity and Polarization in the Lab

(p.189) 7 Identity and Polarization in the Lab
After Repression

Elizabeth R. Nugent

Princeton University Press

This chapter presents the motivation, design, and results of laboratory experimental tests on how repression conditions political polarization through identity. The effects of shared trauma on group identification and polarization are well-established in the psychological literature. Here, the chapter tests for the relationship between repression and political identities to establish the central psychological mechanism through which repression conditions polarization. To do this, the author designed an experiment in a controlled lab environment to observe, measure, and make causal inferences about the psychological mechanism underpinning the book's theory. While the two previous case-study chapters demonstrate how repression and polarization unfolded in the complicated real world, the lab experiments provide a clean (if hard) test of the theory, focusing on the central psychological mechanism. The results show how repression shapes levels of polarization among groups through identity formation.

Keywords:   laboratory experimental tests, repression, political polarization, identity formation, shared trauma, group identification, political identities

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