The number of U.S. adults who are open to new ideas and to changing their mind on issues has increased since 2015, according to a Barna Group report published on July 20.

However, the number of adults who are confident in their views and threatened by those who disagree with them has also risen during the past seven years.

A strong majority of respondents in 2022 agreed with the following statements:

  • “I am willing to hear others out, even if I disagree with them.” (92%)
  • “I welcome different ways of thinking about important topics.” (91%)
  • “I’m willing to change my mind once it’s made up about an important topic.” (78%)

The number of adults agreeing with these statements increased three, 10 and 12 percentage points, respectively, between 2015 and 2022.

During this same period, the number of respondents affirming positions that indicated their views were settled and unchangeable also increased.

Adults who agreed with the statement “when I am really confident in a belief, there is very little chance that belief is wrong” rose from 44% (2015) to 68% (2022).

Similarly, those affirming that “my ideas are usually better than other people’s ideas” increased from 31% to 51%, while those saying “I tend to feel threatened when others disagree with me on topics that are close to my heart” went from 25% to 36%.

“Generally, U.S. adults today have a pretty rosy perspective on their ability to talk across differences. This runs counter, however, to past Barna research that suggests there are certain divides that are difficult to bridge in conversation. U.S. adults’ own responses today also present friction and indicate an entrenchment of beliefs is on the rise,” the report said.

The full report is available here. The margin of error for the 2022 data is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points and plus or minus 2.9 percentage points for the 2015 data.

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