The Polarization Research Lab is a research group and resource hub dedicated to applying science to the study of polarization and democracy.

Founded on more than a decade of research by top scholars in the field at Dartmouth College, Stanford University, and the University of Pennsylvania, PRL advances the study of partisan animosity by collecting data, testing new ideas through rigorous science, and sharing the data and findings with others. Our network includes scholars across social science disciplines, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and researchers around the world as well as our funders and practitioner partners. 

Our lab focuses on addressing the following critical questions:

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

Explore what we do

America’s Political Pulse

Visualize and analyze trends in American political animosity measured with our data. Advanced tools and free and open datasets are also available.

Apply for survey time

We are looking for innovative work on partisan animosity. Proposals will be evaluated solely on scientific merit and will be fielded on YouGov as part of our weekly tracking survey.

Visit the Library of Partisan Animosity

Learn about the research on polarization from top academics in an easy to read and explore format.

Annual meeting

We bring together established scholars, graduate students, community groups and funders for a conference designed to highlight emerging academic work and to develop a network of academics and practitioners focused on the problem of partisan animosity.

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Latest news

PRL at NGA’s Disagree Better Convening
September 12, 2023 — PRL Director Sean Westwood presented on a panel in Manchester, NH, at the National Governors Association Disagree Better Convening. The event featured discussions with leading, …
Not All Elections are Presidential: But They Might Be More Partisan Than Ever
Derek Holliday Do presidential nominees dictate the fortunes of down-ballot candidates? While this has been a growing concern of many political commentators, I find evidence that elections for lower …
Holding Trump Accountable Has Not Threatened American Democracy
Did Donald Trump’s indictment increase support for democratic norm violations and political violence? Political commentators have indicated concern that pursuing criminal charges against the former president may inflame antipathy …