Starting from the axiomatisation of polarisation contained in Esteban and Ray (1994) and Chakravarty and Majumdar (2001) we investigate whether people’s perceptions of income polarisation is consistent with the key axioms. This is carried out using a questionnaire-experimental approach that combines both paper questionnaires and online interactive techniques. The responses suggest that important axioms which serve to differentiate polarisation from inequality - e.g. increased bipolarisation - as well as other distinctive features of polarisation, i.e. the non-monotonous behaviour attributed to polarisation, are not widely accepted.