Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This dissertation examines whether people who claim to be dispositionally open-minded, do in fact, demonstrate such open-mindedness when they are actually presented with political opinions that run counter to their own. In Study 1, participants rated their partisan identity and dispositional open-mindedness prior to reacting to a series of fictional Facebook posts that varied in both their political ideology and political extremity. The results of this study demonstrated that the most consistent predictor of �open� reactions (operationalized in terms of both cognitive judgements and affective reactions) to each type of Facebook post was whether it was congruent with the participants� partisan identity. Importantly, this effect was never moderated by dispositional open-mindedness. Thus, the degree to which a participant was high (vs. low) in open-mindedness did not significantly attenuate partisan bias or act to increase the likelihood of �open� reactions to outgroup political views. Study 2 utilized a similar design, except in this case participants were asked to predict how open they thought they would be to the same set of political issues used in Study 1. The results of Study 2 demonstrated that participants predicted they would be most open to attitudinally consistent political views. As in Study 1, these predictions were not moderated by dispositional open-mindedness. This means that participants who rated themselves as highly open-minded were not any more likely to predict they would be open to outgroup political opinions than those participants who scored themselves low in open-mindedness. This research both builds upon and significantly extends prior work in both the psychological and political science literatures. The implications of these results and future directions are discussed.
Chair and Committee
Alan J. Lambert
Joshua Jackson, Calvin Lai, Mike Strube, Hillary A. Elfenbein,
Hanson, Emily, "On Staying Open While Seeing Red: Predicting Open-Mindedness and Affect in Politics" (2020). Arts & Sciences Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2322.