Publication Date

Spring 2022

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Aaron Wichman (director), Sharon Mutter, Reagan Brown

Degree Program

Department of Psychological Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


A robust finding in psychology shows that people tend to like information more when it supports their existing beliefs, or comes from their own ingroup, a finding known as motivated reasoning. These findings are especially prominent in a political context. Quite consistently, research suggests people increase their liking of political information like political policies when they are attributed to their own party. What is unknown, however, is if people also tend to attribute personally liked information to their own party. These studies were conducted to investigate this question.

Two, within-subjects studies were conducted. In both, participants (undergraduate students) saw various political policies and indicated their liking for each. After a delay, the policies were randomly attributed to either the Democrat or Republican party and participants indicated their liking for each again. After another delay, participants saw all policies again in the context of a memory task. For each policy, participants indicated which party they remembered it was attributed to and their confidence in that memory. Participants also responded to items that measured their political sophistication, political identity fusion, and political identity investment. Collectively, the results of the study provided evidence that people remembered personally liked policies as being attributed to their own party. It also suggests that political sophistication may moderate this effect in some fashion. Finally, people seemed to increase their liking for policies that were attributed to their own party and decrease their liking for policies attributed to the opposing party.


Cognitive Psychology | Other Political Science | Quantitative Psychology | Social Psychology