Date of Award

Fall 12-1-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Elena Stepanova

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Mark Huff

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Lucas Keefer

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Richard Mohn

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Hans Stadthagen

Committee Member 5 School



People continually rely on disinformation to make judgments after it is corrected or discredited. This phenomenon is termed the continued influence effect (CIE). Using a sample of 152 participants, the current study examined whether the CIE can be explained by a person’s political orientation, attention control (AC) levels, intolerance of ambiguity (IA) and need for specific closure (NSC). It was found that when political orientation was based on self-reports, the overall political conservatism did not predict the CIE (r = .13, p = .09) but economic conservatism did (r = .19, p < .05), suggesting that those with higher self-reported fiscally conservative attitudes may show more prolonged influence of disinformation. In addition, the overall AC levels did not predict the CIE (r = .08, p = .30), but the antisaccade scores reflecting the ability to inhibit automatic responses were a significant positive predictor of the CIE (r = .18, p < .05). Lastly, neither IA nor NSC significantly predicted the CIE (ps > .05). These findings were obtained with only one of two measures of the CIE employed, the warehouse fire paradigm (Johnson & Seifert, 1994). Limitations of both the CIE and political orientation measures are discussed. One important implication of this work is that previous research may have depicted an incomplete picture of political orientation, and future studies should aim to capture various aspects of political orientation to further examine the association between various facets of conservatism and the CIE. In addition, more experimental studies should be adopted to better uncover the causal links proposed in this study. These findings may facilitate further exploration and understanding of the sources of the CIE. Keywords: continued influence effect; disinformation; conservatism; attention control; intolerance of ambiguity; need for specific closure