Young adults who had participated in a college program in which they learned to deliberate were compared with a matched sample from the same college who did not participate. Interview and survey responses to questions about citizenship and communication about politics were analyzed. Ten years after their graduation, the students who learned to deliberate during college had more complex conceptions of citizenship and its responsibilities compared to their 2005 classmates in the matched cohort. They also expressed more willingness to engage in political talk across differences. The study suggests that when emerging adults have extended experience deliberating about potentially divisive policy issues, they develop cognitive and communicative skills that equip them to navigate the diverse socio-political world that they now inhabit. Thus, we argue that education for democracy in the 21st century should include instruction in deliberative practice.
Buchanan, C. M., Harriger, K. J., McMillan, J. J., & Gusler, S. (2022). Deliberation, Cognitive Complexity, and Political Engagement: A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of Deliberative Training During Emerging Adulthood. Journal of Deliberative Democracy, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.16997/jdd.959