Polarized Attitudes Toward the Ground Zero Mosque are Reduced by High-Level Construal

Daniel Y.J. Yang, Jesse Lee Preston, Ivan Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


On the basis of construal level theory (Trope & Liberman, 2010), we hypothesized that political polarization on controversial issues may be reduced by increasing abstract mental construal. Using the issue of the "Ground Zero Mosque" and political polarization on it as an example, we first established that liberals and conservatives hold opposing attitudes toward building a mosque near Ground Zero (Study 1). Polarized attitudes were significantly reduced by increasing the abstract (vs. concrete) level of construal, by having participants answer a series of why (vs. how) questions before considering the issue (Study 2) or by having participants read an article about the Ground Zero Mosque in a disfluent (vs. fluent) format (Study 3). We conclude that abstract mental construal may potentially provide a means for dialogue and compromise on divisive political issues, and implications for political discourse are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-250
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Ground Zero Mosque
  • abstract thinking
  • mental construal
  • political ideology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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