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Department of Economics pres.

Social, Behavioral & Experimental Economics (SBEE): Self-Persuasion: Evidence from Field Experiments at Two International Debating Competitions

Peter Schwardmann, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Econ Umich Econ Umich
Econ Umich
Abstract:
Does the wish to convince others lead people to persuade themselves about the factual and moral superiority of their position? We investigate this question in field experiments at two international debating competitions that randomly assign persuasion goals (pro or contra a motion) to debaters. We find evidence for self-persuasion in incentivized measures of factual beliefs, attitudes, and confidence in one’s position. Self-persuasion occurs before the debate and remains after the debate. Our results lend support to interactionist accounts of cognition and suggest that the desire to persuade is an important driver of opinion formation.

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