Incivility has been a primary concern of healthy debate in the online environment. Realising the individual and societal impacts of incivility, much research has investigated the role of incivility; however, a consensus has not yet been reached on how it plays a beneficial role in politics. In the current two-wave survey study (N = 933) of Americans in the context of the 2016 presidential election, we revisit the role of online incivility in cross-cutting attention and online/offline political participation with a focus on anxiety, outrage, and pride toward the candidate respondents’ support (i.e. emotions toward the in-group). Our results reveal that in general, online incivility directly increases cross-cutting attention. In addition, when encountering online incivility, people who are anxious about the in-group pay more attention to cross-cutting opinions. Inversely, however, those who feel pride over the in-group do not pay much attention to cross-cutting opinions when facing online incivility. Such cross-cutting attention ultimately leads to online/offline political participation. This study advances the current understanding of inter-group emotions theory by suggesting the intervening roles of distinct emotions toward the in-group.
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- Online incivility
- cross-cutting attention
- in-group-directed emotions
- political participation