GAINESVILLE, Fla., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Adults with strong views on abortion tend to exaggerate differences of opinion they have with their opponents, finds a University of Florida study.
The research shows that the middle ground can be reached on intellectual terms but often is not because individuals view their opponents' arguments as attacks upon their core values and therefore themselves, said John Chambers, a psychology professor.
"Members of partisan social groups often view their adversaries with suspicion, distrust and outright animosity," said Chambers.
Inflamed beliefs not only characterize disputes between the political parties, but among social groups with competing ideologies, such as labor-management conflicts, environmentalist-business struggles, tensions between warring nations and race-related problems, according to Chambers.
People with contrasting views assume their adversaries contest the core values they care about most deeply, but opposing groups share more beliefs than they realize, Chambers said.
The study appears in the journal Psychological Science.