Take Action

Home | Faculty & Research Overview | Research

Research Details

The Perception of Others’ Attitude Bases and Position as Antecedents of Inferred Open-mindedness: Consequences for Attitudinal Advocacy, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology


People exhibit a general unwillingness to engage others on social issues for which they disagree (e.g., political elections, police funding, vaccine mandates, etc.), a phenomenon that contributes to the political polarization vexing societies today. Previous research has largely attributed this unwillingness to the perception that such counterattitudinal targets are extreme, certain, and/or difficult to change on these topics. However, the present research offers an additional theoretical explanation. First, we introduce a less studied perception of targets, their affective-cognitive attitude basis (i.e., the degree to which an attitude is seemingly based on emotions versus reasons) that is critical in determining engagement willingness. Specifically, perceivers are less willing to engage with targets who are perceived to hold an affective (vs. cognitive) attitude basis on a topic, because these targets are inferred to have low attitudinal openness on it (i.e., expected to be unlikely to genuinely “hear out” the perceiver). Second, we use a series of multimethod studies with varied U.S. samples to show why this person perception process is central to understanding counterattitudinal engagement. Compared to proattitudinal targets, perceivers on both sides of an issue ascribe more affective (vs. cognitive) attitude bases to rival (counterattitudinal) targets, which cues inferences of reduced attitudinal openness, thereby diminishing people’s willingness to engage with these individuals




Jacob Teeny, Richard E. Petty

Date Published



Teeny, Jacob, and Richard E. Petty. 2022. The Perception of Others’ Attitude Bases and Position as Antecedents of Inferred Open-mindedness: Consequences for Attitudinal Advocacy. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.


Explore leading research and ideas

Find articles, podcast episodes, and videos that spark ideas in lifelong learners, and inspire those looking to advance in their careers.
learn more


Review Courses & Schedules

Access information about specific courses and their schedules by viewing the interactive course scheduler tool.


Discover the path to your goals

Whether you choose our Full-Time, Part-Time or Executive MBA program, you’ll enjoy the same unparalleled education, exceptional faculty and distinctive culture.
learn more