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Interpersonal disagreement has been linked to a variety of democratic outcomes, and classic theories of social influence place it at the heart of opinion formation. We examine the relationship between exposure to disagreement and information seeking during elections, while developing and testing a theory of heterogeneous effects based on recent work on personality and discussion (e.g., Gerber et al. 2012). Using a simulated campaign experiment (Lau and Redlawsk 2006) and data from the 2008–9 ANES panel study, we find consistent evidence that personality conditions responses to disagreement in expected ways—it enhances effects for those with certain traits, while suppressing it for those with others. We close by reflecting on this pattern of results, discussing broader implications while moving toward a more general theory of social influence.

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This document was originally published in The Journal of Politics by the University of Chicago Press. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.1086/685734