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Epistemic Loyalty: Interpersonal Pressures and Political Closed-Mindedness
If someone changes their mind on a core political belief, how might they expect a member of their political ingroup to react? And how do these expectations affect a person’s open-mindedness, intellectual humility, and willingness to engage with counter-attitudinal information? In this project, we aim to investigate how US partisans expect members of their political ingroup to react if they were to change their stance on political topics (e.g., a liberal shifting to a more conservative stance on private gun ownership in the United States), and whether these expectations match up with how political ingroup members actually react. Across four online studies (N = 1,650) we document that expectations fail to align with reality. Importantly, we find that people’s fear of negative social consequences from ingroup members significantly predicts several important outcomes, such as decreased open-mindedness, lower intellectual humility, and a greater likelihood of self-censorship.