Political and Nonpolitical Belief Change Elicits Behavioral Change

Madalina Vlasceanu, Casey E. McMahon, Jay J. Van Bavel, Alin Coman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Beliefs have long been theorized to predict behaviors and thus have been the target of many interventions aimed at changing false beliefs in the population. But does changing beliefs translate into predictable changes in behaviors? Here, we investigated the impact of belief change on behavioral change across two experiments (N = 576). Participants rated the accuracy of a set of health-related statements and chose corresponding campaigns to which they could donate funds in an incentivized-choice task. They were then provided with relevant evidence in favor of the correct statements and against the incorrect statements. Finally, they rated the accuracy of the initial set of statements again and were given a chance to change their donation choices. We found that evidence changed beliefs and this, in turn, led to behavioral change. In a preregistered follow-up experiment, we replicated these findings with politically charged topics and found a partisan asymmetry in the effect, such that belief change triggered behavioral change only for Democrats on Democratic topics, but not for Democrats on Republican topics or for Republicans on either topic. We discuss the implications of this work in the context of interventions aimed at stimulating climate action or preventative health behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-476
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 13 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


  • behavioral change
  • belief change
  • health beliefs
  • political beliefs


Dive into the research topics of 'Political and Nonpolitical Belief Change Elicits Behavioral Change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this