Political attitudes and belief updating

Last registered on July 30, 2018


Trial Information

General Information

Political attitudes and belief updating
Initial registration date
July 25, 2018

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
July 30, 2018, 2:29 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


Primary Investigator

University of Warwick

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Warwick
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
There is some evidence that political attitudes are related to how individuals update their beliefs. This study will first test for such relationships, and then go on to try to identify key causal factors such as self-deception, dogmatism and status quo bias. Political stance will be measured using a multi-dimensional scale together with a simpler measure of political attitude. A number of scales and measures will be included that are novel to economics (though known to psychologists) in an effort to disentangle the many possible causes of any relationship between political attitudes and belief-updating.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

, , David Ronayne and Daniel Sgroi. 2018. "Political attitudes and belief updating." AEA RCT Registry. July 30. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2976
Former Citation
, , David Ronayne and Daniel Sgroi. 2018. "Political attitudes and belief updating." AEA RCT Registry. July 30. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2976/history/32317
Experimental Details


Between-subject treatment: Subjects are exposed to either a neutrally framed decision problem or one linked to a current political issue. In both cases they are offered the opportunity to update their answers (beliefs) with the addition of new information.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Answer before updating, probability assessment before updating, answer after updating, probability assessment after updating, measures of political affiliation.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The main task involves the participant providing an answer to a question: we request a best guess and also a probability belief attached to that guess. This can be compared to the best guess (and correct assessment of the probability) given the information they have. Then they are given further information and again asked to provide an answer and probability, which can again be checked against the correct answer and correctly updated probability. This can then be cross-referenced against their scores in the political scale. We can also examine the results by treatment.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Cognitive ability, status quo bias, personality, insensitivity to outcome-based considerations, dogmatism, cognitive closure, cognitive rigidity, self-deception, tolerance of uncertainty, tolerance of ambiguity, present bias, demographics.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
These measure were chosen based on correlations with political attitudes documented in the literature.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
MTurk study involving a series of tasks and demographic/psychometric measures.
Experimental Design Details
Subjects are first asked to undertake an updating problem: either neutrally-framed or politically-framed. In each case they are asked to make a decision based on an informative (but not fully-revealing) signal. They are then given more information and have the opportunity to update. Subjects are then subjected to a number of questions and scales designed to measure the variables listed under "secondary outcomes" above. Finally, subjects are asked to complete a multi-dimensional politics scale (Everett, 2012) and a demographic questionnaire.
Randomization Method
The randomization is undertaken by Qualtrics (the software we are using to run the MTurk study).
Randomization Unit
Individual level only.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clustering.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approx.300-350 MTurk workers.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Approx. 150-175 participants per treatment.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Internal Department of Economics Approval Process
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials