Asymmetry in political polarization at multiple levels of bias

Annika Kluge, Eli Adler, Lilach Nir, Eran Halperin, Mikko Sams, Jonathan Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While some studies show ideological asymmetry in outgroup bias between rightists and leftists, those studies often target an ideologically biased outgroup. Here, we bypass this issue by targeting the ideological outgroups (rightists for leftists, and leftists for rightists). We rely on a magnetoencephalography-based approach delineating function-specific neural mechanisms to test for ideological asymmetries at multiple levels: explicit psychological self-reports, implicit behavioral bias, and neural oscillations. Using a computational model balancing the stimuli and screening 81 rightists and leftist Israeli individuals, we find ideological asymmetry with rightists being more biased at all three levels. Furthermore, the neural results add important insights by uncovering two underlying mechanisms: The first (late beta-band motor activity) is strongly associated with implicit behavior, while the second (early alpha-band dorsal anterior cingulate activity) reveal an antileftist bias for both groups. We discuss implications of the findings on bias, ideological asymmetry, their neural underpinnings, and social norms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Political Psychology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International Society of Political Psychology.


This work was supported by the Academy of Finland grant to JL, by the Academy of Finland project funding to MS and a grant by the Finnish Cultural Foundation to AK.

FundersFunder number
Research Council of Finland
Suomen Kulttuurirahasto


    • ideological asymmetry
    • neuro-politics
    • political neuroscience
    • political polarization
    • political psychology
    • social neuroscience


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