Deutsch: Polarisierung / Español: polarización / Português: polarização / Français: polarisation / Italiano: polarizzazione

In the context of psychology, polarization refers to the phenomenon where an individual's or group's attitudes or beliefs become more extreme over time, typically as a result of group discussions or exposure to like-minded opinions. This concept is particularly relevant in social psychology, where it helps explain changes in group dynamics and individual decision-making processes.


Polarization in psychology often occurs when people in a group discuss a viewpoint they initially agree upon, leading to a shift towards a more extreme position. This shift is usually in the direction of the prevailing opinion within the group. Key factors contributing to polarization include confirmation bias (favoring information that confirms existing beliefs) and social comparison (aligning opinions with perceived group norms for acceptance and identity reinforcement).

Application Areas

Polarization is studied and observed in several psychological and societal contexts:

  • Social psychology: Examines how group interactions can lead to more radical positions, affecting group behavior and social identity.
  • Political psychology: Investigates how political beliefs become more extreme, impacting democratic processes and intergroup relations.
  • Media psychology: Studies the impact of media and online platforms in amplifying polarized views.

Well-Known Examples

One well-documented example of polarization is the "risky shift" phenomenon, where groups tend to make riskier decisions after group discussions than individuals would on their own. Another significant area where polarization is evident is in online social networks, where algorithm-driven content can create echo chambers that intensify users' existing beliefs.

Treatment and Risks

Polarization poses several risks to individual well-being and societal health:

  • Interpersonal and social conflict: Increased polarization can lead to heightened intergroup tensions and reduced willingness to compromise.
  • Impaired decision-making: Polarization can lead to more extreme and less balanced decision-making processes.

Symptoms, Therapy, and Healing

While "therapy" and "healing" are not typically terms used to address polarization directly, there are strategies to mitigate its effects:

  • Education and awareness: Teaching critical thinking and media literacy can help individuals recognize and resist polarizing influences.
  • Encouraging diversity of exposure: Promoting engagement with a range of viewpoints can reduce polarization by tempering extreme positions.

Articles with 'Polarization' in the title

  • Group polarization: Group polarization refers to the tendency for groups to make decisions that are more extreme than the initial inclinations of ist members. Also refers to group-produced enhancement of members' preexisting tendencies- a strengthening of the . . .
  • Group polarization effect: Group polarization effect refers to a tendency for group decisions to be more extreme than the decisions of individuals. With other words Group polarization effect refers to a shift toward a more extreme position resulting from group disc . . .
  • Depolarization: Depolarization refers to the reduction in the level of polarization across a membrane- when the inside of a neuron becomes more positive, as occurs during the initial phases of the action potential


In psychology, polarization refers to the process by which individual or group opinions become more extreme due to interactions within homogenous groups or exposure to reinforcing information. Understanding this phenomenon is crucial for addressing the challenges it poses in various domains, from personal relationships to societal cohesion.


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