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

  title={Does Counter-Attitudinal Information Cause Backlash? Results from Three Large Survey Experiments},
  author={Andrew Markus Guess and Alexander Coppock},
  journal={British Journal of Political Science},
  pages={1497 - 1515}
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… 
Why the backfire effect does not explain the durability of political misperceptions
  • B. Nyhan
  • Psychology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2021
The research that is reviewed suggests that the accuracy-increasing effects of corrective information like fact checks often do not last or accumulate; instead, they frequently seem to decay or be overwhelmed by cues from elites and the media promoting more congenial but less accurate claims.
Why “backfire effects” do not explain the durability of political misperceptions
Previous research indicated that corrective information can provoke a so-called “backfire effect” in which respondents more strongly endorsed a misperception about a controversial political or
Evidence Can Change Partisan Minds Rethinking the Bounds of Partisan-Motivated Reasoning
Can factual information change partisan opinions? Theories of partisan-motivated reasoning maintain that political persuasion is difficult because citizens are motivated to defend their partisan
Can “Googling” correct misbelief? Cognitive and affective consequences of online search
Results of the two experiments indicated that online search reduces on average the likelihood of believing the misinformation, and the magnitude of the effect is larger among those who are predisposed to believe the misinformation.
Facts and Myths about Misperceptions
Misperceptions threaten to warp mass opinion and public policy on controversial issues in politics, science, and health. What explains the prevalence and persistence of these false and unsupported
Exposure to Extremely Partisan News from the Other Political Side Shows Scarce Boomerang Effects
A narrow information diet may be partly to blame for the growing political divides in the United States, suggesting exposure to dissimilar views as a remedy. These efforts, however, could be
Countering Misinformation and Fake News Through Inoculation and Prebunking
ABSTRACT There has been increasing concern with the growing infusion of misinformation, or “fake news”, into public discourse and politics in many western democracies. Our article first briefly
Taking Fact-Checks Literally But Not Seriously? The Effects of Journalistic Fact-Checking on Factual Beliefs and Candidate Favorability
Are citizens willing to accept journalistic fact-checks of misleading claims from candidates they support and to update their attitudes about those candidates? Previous studies have reached
Whose media are hostile? The spillover effect of interpersonal discussions on media bias perceptions
Abstract Since Eveland and Shah (2003) published their seminal study on the impact of social networks on media bias perceptions in the US, little has been researched about the interpersonal
Knowledge Persists, Opinions Drift: Learning and Opinion Change in a Three-Wave Panel Experiment
Considerable evidence exists that Americans possess not only low levels of political knowledge but also relatively uninformed—and sometimes misinformed—opinions on policy matters. Many recent studies


A Theory of Rational Attitude Polarization
Numerous experiments have demonstrated the possibility of attitude polarization. For instance, Lord, Ross & Lepper (1979) partitioned subjects into two groups, according to whether or not they
Biased Assimilation and Attitude Polarization: The Effects of Prior Theories on Subsequently Considered Evidence
People who hold strong opinions on complex social issues are likely to examine relevant empirical evidence in a biased manner. They are apt to accept "confirming" evidence at face value while
Effects of Evidence on Attitudes: Is Polarization the Norm?
A 1979 study by Lord, Ross, and Lepper has been widely cited as showing that examination of mixed evidence on a topic leads to polarization of attitudes The polarization phenomenon, we suggest, in
The Elusive Backfire Effect: Mass Attitudes’ Steadfast Factual Adherence
Can citizens heed factual information, even when such information challenges their partisan and ideological attachments? The “backfire effect,” described by Nyhan and Reifler (Polit Behav
Demand Effects in Survey Experiments: An Empirical Assessment
Survey experiments are ubiquitous in social science. A frequent critique is that positive results in these studies stem from experimenter demand effects (EDEs)—bias that occurs when participants
You Cannot be Serious: The Impact of Accuracy Incentives on Partisan Bias in Reports of Economic Perceptions
When surveyed about economic conditions, supporters of the president's party often report more positive conditions than its opponents. Scholars have interpreted this finding to mean that partisans
When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions
An extensive literature addresses citizen ignorance, but very little research focuses on misperceptions. Can these false or unsubstantiated beliefs about politics be corrected? Previous studies have
Motivated Skepticism in the Evaluation of Political Beliefs
We propose a model of motivated skepticism that helps explain when and why citizens are biased-information processors. Two experimental studies explore how citizens evaluate arguments about
▪ Abstract Do people assimilate new information in an efficient and unbiased manner—that is, do they update prior beliefs in accordance with Bayes' rule? Or are they selective in the way that they
Opinion Backlash and Public Attitudes: Are Political Advances in Gay Rights Counterproductive?
One long-recognized consequence of the tension between popular sovereignty and democratic values like liberty and equality is public opinion backlash, which occurs when individuals recoil in response