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To form truthful beliefs, individuals must expose themselves to varied viewpoints. And yet, people routinely avoid information that contradicts their prior beliefs—a tendency termed “selective exposure.” Why? Prior research theorizes that exposure to opposing views triggers negative emotions; in turn, people avoid doing so. Here, we argue that understanding why individuals find simple exposure to opposing perspectives aversive is an important and largely unanswered psychological question. We review three streams of research that offer relevant theories: self-threat borne of cognitive dissonance; naïve realism (i.e., the illusion of personal objectivity); and reluctance to expend cognitive effort. While extant empirical research offers the strongest evidence for predictions from naïve realism, more systematic research is needed to reconcile these perspectives.


Minson, Julia, and Charles A. Dorison. "Why is exposure to opposing views aversive? Reconciling three theoretical perspectives." Current Opinion in Psychology 47 (October 2022): 101435.