Defending Democracy: Inoculation’s Efficacy in Protecting First Amendment Attitudes

Kimberly A. Parker, Sarah Geegan, Bobi Ivanov, Amanda Slone, Will Silberman, Joe Martin, Erin Hester, Sean Goatley-Soan, August Anderson, Taban Herrington, Seth Riker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Although it may be tempting to assume that people’s attitudes toward the First Amendment are resolute, extant research and the findings of this investigation suggest the opposite: that Americans’ First Amendment attitudes are quite susceptible to persuasion. This investigation applied inoculation theory as an avenue through which attitudes toward the First Amendment could be strengthened and protected against counter-attitudinal persuasive attacks. The results of this three-phase experiment show that inoculation-based strategies are capable of both strengthening and protecting First Amendment attitudes against pressures to support narrowing the scope of the First Amendment. In addition, inoculation proved to be a successful strategy in protecting the certainty (or conviction) with which First Amendment attitudes are held.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-39
Number of pages18
JournalCommunication Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Central States Communication Association.


  • Social influence
  • civil liberties
  • free speech
  • resistance strategy
  • right to assemble

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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