The malleability of political attitudes: Choice blindness, confabulation and attitude change

Thomas Strandberg

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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This thesis is an empirical and theoretical investigation of choice blindness, in particular in the domain of political attitudes. Choice blindness is a cognitive phenomenon in which people do not notice dramatic mismatches between what they choose and what they get while still offering seemingly introspective arguments to explain their (putative) choice. In four papers, it is demonstrated that the effect also applies to salient political attitudes and evaluations of political candidates. All studies took place in close connection to real elections, and new tools building of the underlying choice blindness methodology has been developed to collect the data. Further, the potential downstream effects are explored, such as influence on voting intentions, and lasting attitude changes. The potential mechanisms behind the effect are also investigated and confabulatory reasoning stands out as an important part in facilitating the observed attitude changes.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Cognitive Science
  • Johansson, Petter, Supervisor
  • Hall, Lars, Assistant supervisor
  • Björklund, Fredrik, Assistant supervisor
Award date2020 Aug 24
Place of PublicationLund, Sweden
ISBN (Print)978-91-89213-06-7
ISBN (electronic) 978-91-89213-07-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 18

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2020-08-24
Time: 10:00
Place: LUX C121
External reviewer
Name: Daniel Oppenheimer
Title: professor
Affiliation: Carnegie Mellon University

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Free keywords

  • choice blindness
  • confabulation
  • self-perception
  • political psychology
  • attitude change


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  • Best judgment and decision making poster

    Strandberg, Thomas (Recipient), 2014 Jan 15

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Best psychology poster

    Strandberg, Thomas (Recipient), 2013 Jun 1

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

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