The effect of personal attitudes on information processing biases in religious individuals

Omar Yousaf, Fernand Gobet

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Abstract

Selective exposure, the confirmation bias of preferring attitude-consistent over attitude-inconsistent information, is empirically a well-established phenomenon of human behaviour. However, most of the research on selective exposure has been conducted either on what material participants select or what they attend to once the material is presented. We extended a selective exposure paradigm by measuring biases at both the selection and the reading stages of information processing. After Christian participants (n = 41) were asked about their views on tithing (a religious practice of giving charity), selective exposure biases were not systematic but were moderated by participants’ views on tithing. That is, those who were in favour of tithing showed a preference for anti-tithing material (i.e., attitude-inconsistent material), whereas those who were not in favour of tithing also showed a preference for anti-tithing material (i.e., attitude-consistent material). Our study indicates that resistance to persuasion might in some cases depend on attitude direction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
Early online date28 Jan 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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