Public Opinion and Voting Behavior

Political Overconfidence Inhibits the Effectiveness of Inoculations Against Misperceptions


  • Ian Anson University of Maryland, Baltimore County


In this study, I develop an experimental framework to examine whether political overconfidence leads Americans to defend political misperceptions. Politically overconfident Americans, who suffer from the “double bind” of ignorance described by the Dunning-Kruger Effect, are expected to resist the effects of corrective inoculations against misperceptions. In two survey experiments, I measure political overconfidence, and assess its effects on skepticism towards five common misperceptions. In one study, I randomly expose respondents to an inoculation message, and observationally assess the effects of political overconfidence on the inoculation’s effectiveness. In a second study, I experimentally manipulate overconfidence itself, by exposing a random subset of respondents to an objective assessment of their political knowledgeability before random exposure to an inoculation. Together, the results show that corrective inoculations can reduce support for misperceptions. However, among the politically overconfident, these treatments are ineffective.


Thumbnail image of 2021-10-13-Anson-Overconfidence-Misinformation-APSA_Preprint_Version.pdf

Supplementary weblinks

Pre-registration Information
Study pre-registration information for "Political Overconfidence Inhibits the Effectiveness of Inoculations Against Misperceptions"


Log in or register with APSA to comment
Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] – please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .