Does Counter-Attitudinal Information Cause Backlash? Results from Three Large Survey Experiments

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Authors Andrew Guess, Alexander Coppock
Journal/Conference Name BRITISH JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Several theoretical perspectives suggest that when individuals are exposed to counter-attitudinal evidence or arguments, their pre-existing opinions and beliefs are reinforced, resulting in a phenomenon sometimes known as ‘backlash’. This article formalizes the concept of backlash and specifies how it can be measured. It then presents the results from three survey experiments – two on Mechanical Turk and one on a nationally representative sample – that find no evidence of backlash, even under theoretically favorable conditions. While a casual reading of the literature on information processing suggests that backlash is rampant, these results indicate that it is much rarer than commonly supposed.
Date of publication 2018
Code Programming Language R
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