Resistant Beliefs: The Role of Individual and Social Networks


Resistant beliefs inconsistent with scientific knowledge can pose societal threats (e.g., people not getting vaccinated because of erroneous beliefs regarding vaccines). To provide a deeper understanding how resistant beliefs form and can be changed, I integrate research on individual belief networks (i.e., how beliefs are connected within individuals) with research on social belief networks (i.e., how beliefs are connected between individuals). The main proposition of the resulting joint framework is that belief resistance is largely determined by the network structure of beliefs: Beliefs highly connected to other beliefs on the individual and social level are resistant to change. In three subprojects, I will investigate belief resistance using a broad range of methods. Subproject 1 will involve the development of a formal model integrating individual- and social-level research on belief dynamics. Subproject 2 will involve a longitudinal study to investigate how individual and social networks of beliefs interact. Subproject 3 will consist of four experimental studies testing the general hypothesis that reducing a belief’s connectedness to other beliefs lowers belief resistance. The interdisciplinary nature of these subprojects will provide important theoretical advancements for different research fields focusing on belief dynamics. Ultimately, my project will contribute to interventions tackling societally detrimental beliefs.


Project number


Main applicant

J. Dalege MSc

Affiliated with

Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen


01/03/2020 to 28/02/2022