Meta-cognition and resistance to political persuasion: evidence from a three-wave panel study

Joseph A. Vitriol, Howard G. Lavine, Eugene Borgida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We investigate the temporal course of meta-cognition and resistance processes following exposure to counter-attitudinal information in the 2012 Presidential election. Using a unique 3-wave survey panel design, we tracked eligible voters during the last months of the 2012 campaign and experimentally manipulated exposure to negative political messages targeting Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on an online platform. As predicted, we found that politically unengaged (vs. engaged) individuals were less likely to counter-argue a message attacking their favored candidate. Resistance, in turn, led to increased attitudinal certainty, polarization, and correspondence with actual voting behavior over the course of the campaign. These findings provide the first analysis of the longitudinal effects of meta-cognitive processes underlying persuasion for real-world attitude change and behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-33
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Influence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Meta-Cognition
  • attitudinal Certainty
  • political Psychology
  • resistance to Persuasion
  • voting Behavior


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