Asymmetry in political polarization at multiple levels of bias

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-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
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Mar 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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


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