Thanksgiving gatherings with more diverse political beliefs tend to be slightly shorter than gatherings with uniform politics, according to research published by PLOS One, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal.
The study, conducted by Jeremy Frimer of the University of Winnipeg and Linda Skitka of the University of Illinois at Chicago, found politically diverse dinners were 24 minutes shorter than politically uniform ones, on average. They note that a previous study in 2018 “found that politically diverse Thanksgiving Dinners were 35–70 minutes shorter than politically uniform ones, representing a 14–27% reduction in overall dinner duration.”
The researchers found just under 600 Americans two days before Thanksgiving in 2018 and asked them to record the exact time that they arrived and departed their dinners. Those recruits were asked the next day to provide some information about the dinner, such as how many people attended and whether any of them expressed their opinion of President Donald Trump.
“The methodological differences between the prior and current analyses are substantial, rendering the present effort a conceptual and not a direct replication of the original,” Frimer and Skitka note.
“That said, the bulk of evidence thus far suggests that although people expect conversations with unlike-minded others to be painful, they over-estimate the severity of the negative affect of these actual conversations.”
They conclude: “It appears that the Culture War division that exists is not as strong and toxic as generally thought, that many norms surrounding civility and politeness remain intact. With perhaps only a small disruption attributed to politics, Americans appear to be largely successful at putting aside their political differences and enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with relatives and friends with whom their differ.”
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