Political Polarization in America
Research suggests that the US is more politically polarized than ever. How did this come to be? In this final integrative essay, you will be arguing how, from
the perspective of social psychology, America could come to be so polarized. The text discussed polarization directly on pages 281 – 282 in your text, but, in
your essay, you should be incorporate the research and concepts learned throughout the course, via the text chapter readings, lectures, relevant
supplemental materials found in the course, and peer reviewed journal articles that you have found on your own.
Examples of specific concepts / related research that you might use to support your arguments:
Social cognition (e.g., judgmental heuristics)
Cognitive dissonance
Attitudes and attitude change theory
Obedience to authority
Leadership in groups
This must be a formal essay with a main argument and supporting arguments, backed by examples, explanations, and research findings. All sources should
be properly cited, and these citations should be in APA format.
We expect students with have many different overall perspectives about how the US has come to be so particularly polarized, and that’s ok. What you will be
graded on (like with all of these integrative essays) is your ability to 1) show, through your writing, a robust understanding of the relevant course topics, 2)
demonstrate critical thinking about these concepts, and 3) thoughtfully apply the knowledge you have gained in this class to your analysis of US polarization.
For students who need more specific parameters, your arguments should be supported by, at minimum, the following:
3 specific course concepts (you should be heavily citing the text to explain these concepts)
what you’ve learned from at least two supplemental articles found in the course materials, and
what you’ve learned from at least two relevant peer reviewed articles that you have found on your own. (Please review the library tutorials from Module 0 on
how to conduct research and how to find articles from peer reviewed journals)
Technical Requirements:
A unique essay title
A minimum of 4-5 pages, 12 point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins.