People tend to misperceive others on Twitter as being more outraged than they actually are, according to new research published in Nature Human Behaviour. The findings suggest that the prevalence of divisive content on social media platforms might be a result of our tendency to misperceive others as angrier than they actually are online.

The new study was motivated by the importance of accurate social knowledge in functional democracies and the role of online social networks in shaping social knowledge of morality and politics. The researchers aimed to investigate how social media platforms, as currently designed, may contribute to the overperception of moral outrage, which could distort individuals’ understanding of collective moral attitudes.

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