Past research has investigated deliberate mental acts that allow people to remain entrenched in their convictions. The purpose of the current investigation was to examine whether opinion-confirmation processes can occur involuntarily. We conducted experiments wherein participants made speeded judgments of the grammatical accuracy of statements pertaining to various matters of opinion, and subsequently rated their agreement with those statements. The results show that participants more readily verify the grammaticality of a statement when it corresponds to their opinion. These findings may help explain why opinions are sometimes change resistant, in showing that acceptance (rejection) of confirmatory (contradictory) opinions can occur involuntarily. We discuss possible applications of the paradigm described herein.
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- automatic processes
- motivated cognition
- social cognition