People around the globe watched the storming of the US Congress on January 6th, 2021, and many were terrified. This landmark event demonstrates how high levels of affective polarization can have severe consequences, especially if it translates into political violence, as it did when the US Congress was stormed. The term affective polarization refers to the extent to which citizens feel more negatively toward other political parties than toward their own. Sometimes, these negative feelings spill over to behaviors and attitudes outside the political realm. For instance, a substantial share of Norwegians and Americans would be somewhat or very unhappy if their child married someone of the opposite party. There are many reasons for such negative feelings towards other attitudes than one’s own, but research suggests that news plays an important role in explaining affective polarization. However, researchers still do not know much about the link between news media coverage and affective polarization. This is especially true for multiparty systems as in the Nordic countries. One way to better understand affective polarization is to measure the effects of it, for example by setting up scientific experiments. Unlike just a few years ago, the technologies to measure emotion and cognition are readily available, e.g. measuring eye movements or brain waves.
To lead the way in this important development, The Nordic MAP Network conducts three workshops in Sweden, Finland and Denmark. The workshop series gathers key stakeholders from academia and the industry, to establish a common understanding, to improve ongoing empirical research projects, and to qualify grant writing. The workshops will be held in January and June 2022, and January 2023 and will each have a duration of two days.