Updating with Others: Testing the Effect of Informational Social Influence on Political Attitudes
Political Science and International Affairs
What role does information concerning the beliefs of others play in the correction, or persistence, of misperceptions? Can social pressure affect whether someone will change their mind on a salient political issue? Building on the “backfire effect” and informational context literatures, we theorize that informational social influence can affect one's willingness to accept new information. Specifically, when individuals receive partisan cues, their attitudes will be different compared to individuals without similar social influence. We test our theory and hypotheses using a unique experimental between-subjects design using a student sample (N = 839) as well as a nationally representative sample (N = 777). Using the salient debate over voter identification laws, we find some evidence for our theory. We conclude by considering the policy implications of our analysis and directions for future research.
Politics & Policy
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