Belief-dynamics during the Euro-crisis: the role of belief-strength and openness to information
Overvest, H.P.A. van
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In this thesis the effects of the Euro-crisis on the belief-systems of four European heads of state and government are compared to determine whether their reaction is conditional on character traits or belief strength. In order to do this, a new model of belief-change is proposed that allows for the occurrence of different patterns of belief-change. The occurrence of these patterns, incremental and paradigmatic belief-change, is proposed to be conditional. Determination of the co-variance of openness to information and belief-strength with these patterns demonstrates that belief-strength, and not openness to information, is a decisive factor for their occurrence. This means that leaders with strong beliefs are likely to experience either no belief-change at all, or large scale, paradigmatic belief-change as a result of crises. Leaders with weak beliefs on the other hand, are most likely to experience small scale, incremental belief-change. These results imply that belief-change is indeed conditional, and that the existing models of belief-change are incomplete.