Taking the Pulse of Global Partisan Animosity
TWCF Number
Project Duration
July 1 / 2023
- June 30 / 2026
Core Funding Area
Big Questions
Amount Awarded

* A Grant DOI (digital object identifier) is a unique, open, global, persistent and machine-actionable identifier for a grant.

Sean Westwood
Institution Trustees of Dartmouth College

The Polarization Research Lab is a cross-university effort (Dartmouth College, University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University/Hoover Institution) serving as a nexus for work on affective polarization, social trust, and political violence. 

The lab focuses on addressing the following critical questions:

  1. What are the principal causes of affective polarization and what can be done to treat it?
  2. When and where does affective polarization alter behavior? Why?
  3. How effective and durable are approaches to reducing affective polarization?

This grant allows these questions to be probed cross-culturally. 

This project has two major aims: producing top-tier scientific research and the creation of public goods. The scientific portion of the project tracks partisan animosity over time and across the world. The Lab uses the term “partisan animosity” to capture the related concepts of affective polarization, decreasing social trust, increasing tolerance of behavior that violates democratic norms, including support of political violence. With machine learning, the lab is processing comprehensive event and elite rhetoric datasets from television news, official communication from elected officials, social media, and more. With this data, they measure the causal relationship between the words and actions of political officials and the attitudes of citizens.

The project team aims to examine whether the dynamics of partisan animosity are particular to any individual country or whether trends are responding to cross-national forces, such as economic trends, global pandemics, or new technologies. To do this they will add tracking surveys in Brazil, India, Israel, Germany and Poland (nations that represent different levels of democratic backsliding and varying cultural and political contexts) to their current work in the United States. They will also investigate the responsiveness of the public to the actions and rhetoric of political elites, and the efficacy of interventions designed to fix democratic backsliding.

Opinions expressed on this page, or any media linked to it, do not necessarily reflect the views of Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. does not control the content of external links.
Person doing research
Projects &
Explore the projects we’ve funded. We’ve awarded hundreds of grants to researchers and institutions worldwide.

Projects & Resources