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

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


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.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

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


  • choice blindness, confabulation, self-perception, political psychology, attitude change
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2020 Aug 24
Place of PublicationLund, Sweden
  • Department of Philosophy, Lund University
Print ISBNs978-91-89213-06-7
Electronic ISBNs978-91-89213-07-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 18
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

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

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Related research output

Thomas Strandberg, Jay A. Olson, Lars Hall, Andy Woods & Petter Johansson, 2020, In: PLoS ONE. 15, 2, e0226799.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Thomas Strandberg, Lars Hall, Petter Johansson, Fredrik Björklund & Philip Pärnamets, 2019 Jul 8, Proceedings of the 41st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Montreal: Cognitive Science Society, Inc, Vol. 41. 7 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding

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Related projects

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Related prizes

Thomas Strandberg (Recipient), 2014 Jan 15

Prizes and Distinctions: Prize (including medals and awards)

Thomas Strandberg (Recipient), 2013 Jun 1

Prizes and Distinctions: Prize (including medals and awards)

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