Extant research shows that social pressures influence acts of political participation, such as turning out to vote. However, we know less about how conformity pressures affect one’s deeply held political values and opinions. Using a discussion-based experiment, we untangle the unique and combined effects of information and social pressure on a political opinion that is highly salient, politically charged, and part of one’s identity. We find that while information plays a role in changing a person’s opinion, the social delivery of that information has the greatest effect. Thirty three percent of individuals in our treatment condition change their opinion due to the social delivery of information, while ten percent respond only to social pressure and ten percent respond only to information. Participants that change their opinion due to social pressure in our experiment are more conservative politically, conscientious, and neurotic than those that did not.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)