The effect of prediction error on belief update across the political spectrum

Citation:

Vlasceanu, M., Morais, M. J., & Coman, A. (2021). The effect of prediction error on belief update across the political spectrum. Psychological Science.
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Abstract:

Making predictions is an adaptive feature of the cognitive system, as prediction errors are used to adjust the knowledge they stemmed from. Here, we investigate the effect of prediction errors on belief update in an ideological context. In Study 1, 704 Cloud Research participants first evaluated a set of beliefs, then either made predictions about evidence associated with the beliefs and received feedback or were just presented with the evidence. Finally, they re-evaluated the initial beliefs. Study 2, which involved a US census matched sample of 1073 Cloud Research participants, replicated Study 1. We find that the size of the prediction errors linearly predicts belief update and that making large errors leads to more belief update than not engaging in prediction. Importantly, the effects hold for both Democrats and Republicans across all belief types (Democratic, Republican, Neutral). We discuss these findings in the context of the misinformation epidemic.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 07/27/2021