Ideology, attitude change, and deliberation in small face-to-face groups

John Gastil, Laura Black, Kara Moscovitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Previous research has found that face-to-face deliberation can result in aggregate shifts in participants' political views. What is less well known is how such attitude changes vary depending on individual attributes and the nature of a group's deliberation. The present study extends prior research by exploring the relationship between participant ideology and attitude change in small, face-to-face groups. To test a set of hypotheses and research questions, 57 zero-history groups discussed three different public problems for 30-60 minutes, and each participant completed pre- and postdiscussion questionnaires. Participant ideology had a clear association with changes on specific discussion-related issues, but participants from every ideological group experienced increased differentiation between ideologically distinct attitudes. Within-group variance in attitude change was positively correlated with average group scores on self-reported measures of deliberation, extraversion, and conscientiousness. The conclusion discusses these and other findings in relation to future research and public deliberation programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-46
Number of pages24
JournalPolitical Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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