The relationship between incidental happiness and affective polarization: Evidence from three countries
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Description: The purpose of this project is to examine how incidental emotions – affect that is situationally induced in a recent past that is normatively irrelevant to the target object (Andrade & Ariely, 2009; Small & Lerner, 2008) - influence affective polarization. More specifically, we investigate the effects of incidental happiness on affective polarization and on selective exposure (and on affective polarization indirectly through content selection). We also examine three other classes of societally consequential outcomes: endorsement of conspiracy beliefs and belief in fake news (i.e., deep fake videos) in Experiment 1, and also political behaviors on social media across both experiments. Two online experiments are proposed in three countries (US, Poland, and the Netherlands): Study 1 focuses on happiness’s direct influence on affective polarization and conspiracy and fake-news related beliefs, as well as social media behaviors; Study 2 investigates its indirect effects on affective polarization through the selection of pro-attitudinal, balanced, or counter-attitudinal news stories, and also on the indirect effects on political social media behaviors.