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Anxiety, Sophistication, and Resistance to Persuasion: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Survey on Global Climate Change

Abstract : Our contribution deals with the emotional and cognitive foundations of resistance to persuasive information. We rely on an original quasi-experimental protocol that simulates the flow of information and the respondents’ reactions to persuasive arguments on global climate change. Respondents in a representative sample (N 5 604) were asked if they supported reduction of economic activity to reduce climate warming and were then provided, based on their support or disapproval for this first argument, with counterattitudinal arguments to test their resistance to persuasion. This article highlights that sophistication strengthens resistance to persuasion, whereas anxiety has a double effect: directly, it decreases resistance; indirectly, it interacts with political sophistication and makes sophisticates less likely to resist persuasion when facing arguments inconsistent with their previous beliefs. Nonanxious citizens, in turn, are more likely to resist persuasion when their political sophistication increases. We also provide evidence that the joint effect of anxiety and sophistication is moderated by the ideological identification of respondents.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01507155
Contributor : Yves Schemeil Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 4:15:38 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 8:01:58 PM

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Alessandro Nai, Yves Schemeil, Jean-Louis Marie. Anxiety, Sophistication, and Resistance to Persuasion: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Survey on Global Climate Change. Political Psychology, Wiley, 2017, 38 (1), pp.137-156. ⟨10.1111/pops.12331⟩. ⟨halshs-01507155⟩

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