To reveal a complete picture of people’s disagreement-related experiences, we explored the relationship between encountering and expressing disagreement in the context of social media settings. We also shed light on the role of three types of emotions–anxiety, enthusiasm, and anger–in determining people’s willingness to express disagreement. Our findings show that frequently encountering disagreement is a positive predictor of expressing disagreement. Those who felt enthusiasm toward the out-party candidate expressed greater disagreement, but the extent of their expressed disagreement declined with exposure to too much disagreement. Our study shows that patterns differed greatly depending on party affiliation. We only observed the positive role of encountering disagreement and enthusiasm in facilitating disagreement expression among Democratic Party presidential candidate supporters. The study employed original two-wave national survey data collected during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
- affective intelligence theory
- expression of disagreement
- Political disagreement