Political Behavior

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 175–200 | Cite as

Agent credibility and receptivity influences on children's political learning

  • Christine B. Williams
  • Daniel Richard Minns


This study investigates the child's perception of primary agents (parent, teacher, and friend) as political references. It differs in emphasis from earlier socialization studies by adopting the perspective of the child and asking how and why the child regards these agents as authorities. Using two studies (an original and a replication performed a year later with a separate sample), we demonstrate that fifth- and sixth-grade children exhibit two evaluative dimensions, credibility and receptivity. They discriminate among the agents using these two dimensions, and this discrimination is specific to the type of issue. These dimensions affect successful attitude transmission from agent to child: increasing agent credibility and receptivity factors increase opinion congruence.


Socialization Study Receptivity Factor Separate Sample Primary Agent Political Psychology 
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Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine B. Williams
    • 1
  • Daniel Richard Minns
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceState University of New York, College at FredoniaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceAmerican UniversityUSA

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