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Information and Public Opinion

For democratic states to function effectively, citizens should acquire political information and use it to make decisions that are consistent with their preferences. However, recent events cast doubt over people's willingness to make interpret evidence that challenges their prior beliefs, their ability to critically evaluate the credibility of information sources, and ultimately their capacity to make reasoned choices.

A series of working papers demonstrate that scholars must understand the conditions under which people perceive incentives for accuracy to understand how people learn, think, feel, and behave regarding international affairs. 

If people consider the stakes are high and it is important to make the correct decision, they: 1) search for information to help them make the correct decision; 2) become more knowledgeable about the foreign policy debate; and 3) update their attitudes about politics. These findings have important implications for the study of public opinion and political behavior, suggesting that people are capable of effective decision making when it matters most.

Publications and Works in Progress:

  • (with Nicholas Weller). "Incentives and Knowledge: Understanding How Incentives for Accuracy Affect the Relationship between Knowledge and Predictions."

  • (with Nicholas Weller). "Searching for Answers: Towards an Understanding of Information, Public Opinion, and Foreign Policy."


  • (with Nicholas Weller). "Motivated Learning Changes Political Attitudes."

  • (with Nicholas Weller). "How Perceptions of Impact Affect Political Behavior: Evidence from Brexit."


  • Whitney Hua and Thomas Jamieson. "Whose Lives Matter: Public Opinion and Military Conflict."​ Politics, Groups, and Identities, forthcoming.

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