A Persuadable Type? Personality Traits, Dissonant Information, and Political Persuasion

Alessandro Nai, Yves Schemeil, Chiara Valli


Is there anything like a “persuadable type” when it comes to exposure to dissonant information? Who is more likely to be swayed by information that tries to persuade them? Using data from an online sample of American respondents (N = 1,199), we assess whether personality traits (Big Five, Dark Triad) are associated with different perceptions and effectiveness of persuasive political information. In two controlled simulations, we exposed the respondents to dissonant information related to selected political issues (environment and economy) and measured whether they showcased a stable or changed opinion afterward. Results indicate that personality matters partly for the evaluation and persuasiveness of dissonant information. More conscientious and introverted respondents were more likely to evaluate the dissonant information positively. They were at the same time also more likely to resist persuasion itself and so were more agreeable respondents. Inversely, to some extent, narcissism and psychopathy are associated with greater susceptibility to persuasion.


persuasion, dissonant information, personality, Big Five, Dark Triad

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