Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Eidelman, Scott

Committee Member/Reader

Makhanova, Anastasia

Committee Member/Second Reader

Gosman, Alan

Committee Member/Third Reader

Bouchillon, Brandon


Previous research on political extremism has led to two competing perspectives. One views extremists as being more knowledgeable and informed about politics than moderates, while the other claims it is moderates who know more. These two views appear to have arisen from studies that examined different types of political knowledge. This phenomenon could be explained by extremists and moderates having different preferences when it comes to their consumption of political information. We hypothesized that participants indirectly manipulated to feel more extreme conviction in their political views by manipulating them to feel uncertain would prefer more simple explanations of political issues compared to a control group. To test this, participants completed a task designed to manipulate their feelings of personal uncertainty, followed by measures designed to gauge their degree of conviction in their political views and their preference for simple vs complex explanations. No significant results were found, but correlational analyses did begin to show a link between conviction and explanatory preference, such that more extreme conviction was associated with preference for more simple explanations. Limitations and implications for future research are discussed.


Extremism, Conviction, Uncertainty, Political Psychology, Information Seeking