The potential of deliberative reasoning: patterns of attitude change and consistency in cross-cutting and like-minded deliberation

  • Staffan HimmelroosEmail author
  • Henrik Serup Christensen
Original Article


Previous studies have found that deliberative practices such as mini-publics produce opinion changes among participants. Nevertheless, the underlying mechanisms and whether these conform to deliberative ideals have received much less attention. This is problematic since research on public opinion and political psychology suggests that political opinions often are unstable or driven by prior notions. For this reason, we examine the underlying mechanisms of change in opinions and attitude consistency. We do so with data from an experiment with two deliberative treatments—cross-cutting and like-minded discussions—as well as a control group, where no deliberation took place to be able to determine whether deliberation actually cause the observed changes. The results suggest that participants in cross-cutting deliberation are more willing to change opinions, even when they have prior experiences with discussing the topic at hand, which is in line with deliberative theory, but attitude consistency is largely unaffected by the deliberations.


Deliberative democracy Opinion change Political attitudes Experimental research Immigration 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Contemporary History and Political ScienceUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.SamforskÅbo Akademi UniversityTurkuFinland

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