Politics & Elections
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river flowing through ziggurats
June 3, 2024

Why Did Early Governments Emerge?

Was it about cooperation—or exploitation? A new study turns to archeology for answers.

online users reading extreme content in vortex
March 1, 2024

How Trolls Poison Political Discussions for Everyone Else

Online political debate isn’t inherently toxic, a new study of Reddit commenters finds. Instead, it becomes toxic because of the kind of commenters who opt in.

US electoral college map
October 2, 2023

How the Electoral College May Curb Election Fraud

This distinctive aspect of American democracy has come under increased scrutiny. But the very quality that most vexes its critics comes with an underrecognized upside.

two political candidates back to back at podiums. one saying Justice the other saying honor.
September 28, 2023

It’s Election Season. Here Comes the Morally Charged Language.

In the U.S., presidential candidates across the political spectrum lean on value-laden rhetoric—but emphasize different values.

an older woman tweets and a flock of birds flies from her phone toward a person reading the tweet
April 10, 2023

Are People on Social Media Actually That Outraged?

One reason we think Twitter is such a polarized place: we’re bad at inferring how angry people are from their posts.

People split at a fork in the road with road signs pointing to "What If?" in each direction
January 1, 2023

Partisanship Doesn’t Just Color Our View of Facts—It Alters How We Think about Hypotheticals

New research sheds light on how polarization can shape our counterfactual thinking.

people building a bridge, with blue bricks from the left side and red bricks from the right side
December 1, 2022

4 Science-Backed Strategies to Curb Partisan Animosity

Vilification of the other side is at a fever pitch. But research suggests ways to bridge the gap.

Voting machine in a spider web
October 28, 2022

Why Are So Many Politicians Embracing Conspiracy Theories?

Conspiratorial thinking has always been attractive in times of uncertainty—but it’s become more mainstream. An expert explains why, and whether anything can be done.

group of people protest in shadow of a statue to earlier protestors.
October 1, 2022

When Do People Protest and When Do They Just Grumble? History Offers Clues.

A tradition of anti-government uprisings can impact communities centuries later.

four people stand in a circle, with one speaking and the others reflecting on their statement.
October 1, 2022

How We Justify Our Unpopular Opinions

The tactic makes controversial views more palatable to others—and has implications for the rampant spread of fake news.

a flag melding china and russia flags
September 28, 2022

China’s Future Will Reflect Russia’s

China learned from Russia’s post-1991 experience and pursued its economic liberalization with more care. But it ultimately could not avoid the political implications of pro-market policies and is now following Russia down the road to autocracy—continuing a century-long pattern of mirroring its neighbor’s historical trajectory.

two people cut a U.S. map with scissors
September 6, 2022

One Nation, Too Divided?

Political sectarianism is rampant in the U.S. Three experts discuss whether we can remain united.

Office with manager and well-appointed subordinate cubicle sharing political affiliation
September 1, 2022

Could Your Political Views Stymie Your Career?

From being hired to getting a promotion, new research shows you may be penalized for disagreeing politically with the boss.

group seated around thanksgiving table with one person hiding behind turkey drumstick
July 8, 2022

When Political Discussions Get Heated, Is It Best to Just Stay Out of It?

Keeping your head down when hot-button topics arise could come at a cost to your reputation.

illustration of two people putting ballots into ballot boxes
June 8, 2022

Take 5: Democracies and How They Thrive

A look at this form of government at a time when democracy is under stress around the world.

Political advertisements on television next to polling place
November 1, 2021

How Much Do Campaign Ads Matter?

Tone is key, according to new research, which found that a change in TV ad strategy could have altered the results of the 2000 presidential election.

Donkey and elephant write on computers
June 1, 2021

Civil Servants Often Work for Administrations They Disagree with Politically. How Does This Affect Their Job Performance?

While the benefits of insulating career bureaucrats are clear, new research explores whether there are downsides, too.

Politician and businessman congratulate each other at party.
February 1, 2021

Do Powerful Politicians Play Favorites with Their Corporate Friends?

A new study examines the power of public scrutiny to keep high-ranking officials in check.

people engage in conflict with swords
October 29, 2020

The Political Divide in America Goes Beyond Polarization and Tribalism

These days, political identity functions a lot like religious identity.

A man talks into another man's ear as money flies from his mouth
October 5, 2020

When Executives Donate to Politicians, How Much Are They Keeping Their Companies’ Interests in Mind?

A new study looks at the motivation behind these donations, which make up nearly a fifth of all political giving.

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The Insightful Leader

April 26, 2024  ·  13:19 minutes