The role of defensive confidence in preference for proattitudinal information: How believing that one is strong can sometimes be a defensive weakness

Dolores Albarracín, Amy L. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This series of studies identified individuals who chronically believe that they can successfully defend their attitudes from external attack and investigated the consequences of this individual difference for selective exposure to attitude-incongruent information and, ultimately, attitude change. Studies 1 and 2 validated a measure of defensive confidence as an individual difference that is unidimensional, distinct from other personality measures, reliable over a 2-week interval, and organized as a trait that generalizes across various personal and social issues. Studies 3 and 4 provided evidence that defensive confidence decreases preference for proattitudinal information, therefore inducing greater reception of counterattitudinal materials. Study 5 demonstrated that people who are high in defensive confidence are more likely to change their attitudes as a result of exposure to counterattitudinal information and examined the perceptions that mediate this important phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1565-1584
Number of pages20
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004
Externally publishedYes



  • Attitude strength
  • Confidence
  • Personality
  • Persuasion
  • Resistance
  • Selective exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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