Searching for the term "polarization" on image databases, some of the first images that come up are lenses, magnets, and polar wildlife. Yet, when we as psychologists and behavioural scientists hear the word "polarization", we hardly think of high-school physics or white-coated animals. I strongly supect that this is true for the majority of the public, too.
What we are reminded of are descriptions of groups of people drifting towards extreme views, of elections in which voters of one camp deplore the views of the other, of incompatible perceptions of reality, of partisan lines that have become trenches; but is this portrayal of polarization accurate? and if it is, how can society effectively respond to this threat?
Polarization has been studied in the behavioural sciences for decades, yet in the last few years, research intensity has escalated and received much more media coverage and public attention. We believe that research on polarization that allows us to understand its extent, its implications, and uncovers potential solutions is of pivotal importance.
This is why we have now published a collection of research published on the topic in Nature Communications and Nature Reviews Psychology. With this collection comes a call for submissions to Communications Psychology and Nature Communications of work centred on polarization from across the behavioural sciences.
Polarization is a global topic, and we emphasize in particular our interest in research taking a global perspective and/or covering countries our groups that are presently understudied or underrepresented in the literature.
Collection page: https://www.nature.com/collections/dgcejgihcc
Image credits: © Michael Brown / stock.adobe.co