Polarization and openness to others

Last registered on January 25, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Polarization and openness to others
Initial registration date
August 04, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
August 05, 2021, 5:22 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
January 25, 2024, 11:18 AM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

The University of Chicago

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Cornell University

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
There is growing evidence that people seek to avoid contact or exchange of information with others that have different views than theirs. In this study, we test whether raising people’s awareness about the fact that they share views on fundamental values (human rights) increases the willingness to listen to others who share different political views.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Belot, Michele and GUGLIELMO BRISCESE. 2024. "Polarization and openness to others ." AEA RCT Registry. January 25. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8029-3.2
Experimental Details


Main study participants (i.e., a representative sample of Americans) will be asked to choose whether they would like to listen to individuals expressing their (different) views on political issues. Participants are randomized into one of the control or two treatment groups; the treatment groups differ by the information shown prior to listening to others.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Willingness to engage and level of engagement, measured as number of times a respondent was willing to listen to others and the length of time they actually spent listening to others.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The primary outcome measures will be automatically recorded.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Change of views and firmness of views.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary outcomes will include individuals' firmness of views before and after treatment as measured by 1-to-10 survey scale questions.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This multi-phase study will study individuals' willingness to listen to people with different views on important political topics. Interventions will consist in randomly assigned information about others that can potentially increase individuals' willingness to engage with peers who hold different views on the selected topics. The study will take place in the U.S. and the main study phase will include a representative sample of Americans.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization is done by a software.
Randomization Unit
The unit of randomization of the individual (i.e. the survey respondent).
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
The main experiment will include approximately 2,500 respondents randomly allocated across one control and two treatment groups. Participants will not be clustered.
Sample size: planned number of observations
For each respondent we will collect behavioral (i.e., actions) and survey-based outcomes as specified in the pre-analysis plan.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We expect each of the three groups (1 control and 2 treatment) to be approximately of the same size.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Power calculations are attached to the pre-analysis plan.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Cornell University Office of Research Integrity and Assurance
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Analysis plan, including power calculations

MD5: 5c1765a95b9e4bdce07dc1519824b8d7

SHA1: b4dcea2c04c824b9ef8f3e30ad86aec8250c4e57

Uploaded At: August 02, 2021

Updated analysis plan

MD5: d9aa9f6a36fbf3acb536797ac72c14b9

SHA1: bede1c9ef789209247182bda3f73c5695330a0b5

Uploaded At: March 30, 2022

Donations survey PAP.pdf



Uploaded At: January 25, 2024


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
April 10, 2022, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
December 20, 2022, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
No clusters.
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
2,507 individuals (no clusters)
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
842 in Control, 827 in T1, and 838 in T2 groups.
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

We study individuals' willingness to engage with others who hold opposite views on polarizing policies. A representative sample of 2,507 US citizens are given the choice to listen to recordings of fellow countrymen and women expressing their views on immigration, abortion laws and gun ownership laws. We find that most Americans (more than two-thirds) are willing to listen to a view opposite to theirs, and a fraction (ten percent) reports changing their views as a result. We provide experimental evidence that emphasizing common grounds with those who think differently helps bridging views and reducing polarization, particularly on divisive policies.
Belot, Michele, and Guglielmo Briscese. "Bridging America's Divide on Abortion, Guns and Immigration: An Experimental Study." arXiv preprint arXiv:2206.13652 (2022).

Reports & Other Materials