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The Radicalization of Ideas and Political Polarization in Brazil

Demonstrators in front of the Brazilian National Congress. Political polarization, caused the division of sides.

This text came from watching lives and podcasts on YouTube, in which people, instead of discussing what is being said there, they fight because of different opinions, and worse, they end up taking it to the political side. That situation where "my opinion is better than yours, because that's how it is and that's it".

By the way, in one of the podscasts, two youtubers, who usually talk about horror movies, comment that lately, any movie released, not just the horror genre, are "attacked", by people who say which movie, "aggresses" a certain class of people. Also, they stressed that lately, these opinions are in almost EVERY movie release, and that, the way things are going, it will be difficult to tell a story.

They gave a name to this situation: Radicalization of Ideas due to political polarization.

The idea of writing about it also came from jobs offered to copywriters, which ask for the text to follow a line to please a certain audience and attack another. I believe that my work as a copywriter, yes, is to draw attention to that or that brand, to create leads for the site in question, to improve the SEO of a given website, but then starting to invent information to call the attention of group X or Y, it's been a while of the limit.

In this article, we will explore the source of this problem, its causes and possible solutions to improve the situation.

Political polarization is a phenomenon that has intensified around the world, and Brazil is no exception. The radicalization of ideas, driven by political polarization, has been a cause for concern, as it generates conflicts and hinders constructive dialogue between different groups.

Radicalization of ideas and the intense conflicts observed in live chats, blogs, Twitter and other digital platforms are direct reflections of political polarization in Brazil. The online environment provides a platform for people to express their opinions instantly and amplified, which can lead to heated clashes and personal attacks.

A study conducted by researchers from renowned universities such as California State University, Fullerton, < a href="">Stanford University and the University Johns Hopkins Medicine, revealed that people with opposing political views process information differently. These differences are observed in neural responses during discussions of controversial topics and emotionally charged moments. This cognitive bias contributes to polarization and hinders dialogue between people with divergent political perspectives.

Political polarization in Brazil has deep roots and is related to a combination of historical, social and political factors. Another study, this one in Brazil, revealed that polarization has increased over time, especially in the affective sphere, with concentration in specific groups. One issue that the study points out, in which this was very evident, was in the last presidential elections from 2014 to 2022.

Another cause cited is the dissemination of false and biased information on social media. With the advent of the internet, people have access to an enormous amount of information, but they are not always able to discern what is true and what is false.

Added to this is the fact that social networks create opinion bubbles, where people tend to follow and interact only with those who think similarly, reinforcing their beliefs and making them more inflexible. Social media algorithms tend to show us content that agrees with our political views, creating echo bubbles and making it difficult to be exposed to different perspectives.

Another factor that contributes to radicalization is the lack of dialogue and excessive judgment. Often, people are not willing to listen to what the other has to say, and they start to attack, accusing him of ignorance, intolerance or even of being an enemy of democracy. This creates a climate of hostility that makes any kind of understanding difficult.

In addition to these specific factors, there are broader aspects that contribute to political polarization in the country. Researchers conducted a study to understand how people with opposing political views process information differently (this agrees with the study cited above).

Results showed that liberals and conservatives have distinct neural responses to videos related to immigration policy, particularly during emotionally charged moments. This difference in how we process information based on our political biases can further reinforce our pre-existing beliefs and contribute to polarization.

The person on the left tries to strangle the person on the right, as he disagrees with his opinion. Political polarization.

Given this scenario, it is important to seek ways to improve the situation and reduce political polarization in Brazil. An effective approach involves encouraging respectful dialogue and mutual understanding.

It is also essential that political leaders and opinion makers adopt a more conciliatory and less polarized discourse. Rather than fueling confrontation and division, they should seek common ground and work together for the common good.

Strategies such as the use of moral reframing (Moral reframing is a technique used in psychology and therapy to help individuals change their perspective on a problem or situation. It involves changing beliefs and values that may be limiting the person's ability to deal with a situation in a healthy and positive way. The aim is to help the person find a new perspective that leads to a positive change in their behavior and emotions), which appeals to the values of the public- target, can help reduce animosity and build bridges between different political perspectives.

Furthermore, it is essential that each individual educate themselves, recognize their own biases, and be willing to evaluate arguments impartially.

Political polarization is a complex problem that can have many causes and negative consequences for society and democracy. However, there are some strategies and approaches that can help to improve this issue.

Based on the information provided, as well as the research results found (listed below), here are some ways to address and reduce political polarization:

  1. Promote dialogue and cooperation: It is essential to create spaces for dialogue and cooperation between people with different political ideologies. Initiatives that encourage meeting and interaction between individuals who do not share the same political views can help build bridges and foster mutual understanding.

  2. Encouraging critical thinking and combating cognitive biases: People tend to seek out information that confirms their own beliefs, which can reinforce bias. Promoting critical thinking and providing tools to analyze information impartially can help mitigate the effects of cognitive biases.

  3. Develop effective communication strategies: How information is presented can influence bias. The moral reframing technique, adapting arguments based on the moral values of the target audience, can help build empathy and reduce political divisions.

  4. Investing in education and awareness: Education plays a key role in forming critical and informed citizens. Promoting civic education and critical thinking in schools can contribute to a more engaged and less polarized society.

  5. Encouraging citizen participation: Encouraging active citizen participation in political processes can strengthen democracy and reduce polarization. Citizen engagement mechanisms, such as public consultations and deliberation spaces, can allow different perspectives to be heard and considered.

  6. Fighting disinformation: The spread of fake news and misinformation contributes to political polarization. Promoting media literacy and investing in effective mechanisms to combat misinformation, such as fact-checking and social media monitoring, can help reduce the polarization caused by the spread of misleading information.

Finally, it's important to remember that radicalization benefits no one. On the contrary, it only generates conflicts and impedes the advancement of democracy. Therefore, it is necessary to make an effort to overcome differences and seek dialogue and cooperation. This is the only way we can build a more just and egalitarian country for all.

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