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

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Keywords

  • Behavioral Change
  • Belief Change
  • Health Beliefs
  • Political Beliefs

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