Listen, We Need to Talk: How to Change Attitudes Toward LGBT Rights. 2017. Oxford University Press.
With Melissa Michelson, Menlo College.

American public opinion tends to be sticky. Although the news cycle might temporarily affect the public’s mood on contentious issues like abortion, the death penalty, or gun control, public opinion toward these issues has remained remarkably constant over decades. There are notable exceptions, however, particularly with regard to divisive issues that highlight identity politics. For example, over the past three decades, public support for same-sex marriage has risen from scarcely more than a tenth to a majority of the population. Why have people’s minds changed so dramatically on this issue, and why so quickly? It wasn’t just that older, more conservative people were dying and being replaced in the population by younger, more progressive people; people were changing their minds. Was this due to the influence of elite leaders like President Obama? Or advocacy campaigns by organizations pushing for greater recognition of the equal rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people?

Listen, We Need to Talk tests a new theory, what Brian Harrison and Melissa Michelson call The Theory of Dissonant Identity Priming, about how to change people’s attitudes on controversial topics. Harrison and Michelson conducted randomized experiments all over the United States…

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Publications/Forthcoming Work

  • Harrison, Brian F. & Melissa R. Michelson. 2017. Listen, We Need to Talk: How to Change Attitudes Toward LGBT Rights. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Harrison, Brian & Melissa R. Michelson. 2017. “What’s Love Got to Do With It?: Emotion, Rationality, and Framing LGBT Rights.” New Political Science: A Journal of Politics and Culture.
  • Harrison, Brian F. & Melissa R. Michelson. 2017. “Using Experiments to Understand Public Attitudes towards Transgender Rights.” Politics, Groups, & Identities.
  • Harrison, Brian F. & Melissa R. Michelson. 2016. “More than a Game: Football Fans and Marriage Equality.” PS: Political Science and Politics.
  • Harrison, Brian. 2016. “The Partisan Pulpit: Partisanship, Elite Polarization and U.S. Presidential Communication.” Social Science Quarterly.
  • Panagopoulos, Costas & Brian F. Harrison. 2016. “Consensus Cues, Issue Salience, and Policy Preferences.” North American Journal of Psychology.
  • Harrison, Brian F. & Melissa R. Michelson. 2015. “God and Marriage: The Impact of Religious Identity Priming on Attitudes toward Same-Sex Marriage.” Social Science Quarterly. doi: 10.1111/ssqu.12169
  • Harbridge, Laurel, Neil Malhotra, and Brian F. Harrison. 2014.Public Preferences for Bipartisanship in the Policymaking Process.” Legislative Studies Quarterly, 39(3): 327-355.
  • Harrison, Brian F. & Melissa R. Michelson. 2012. “Not That There’s Anything Wrong with That: The Effect of Personalized Appeals on Marriage Equality Campaigns.Political Behavior, 34(2): 325-344.

    Opinion pieces:

Under Review/Working Papers:

  1. Book manuscript #2 (Prospectus under review): Analysis of attitudes toward transgender rights and strategies and tactics to increase support.
  2.  Article on bathroom politics and transgender rights.
  3.  Article on strength of gender identity and attitudes toward transgender individuals. With Melissa Michelson.
  4. “Go With What You Know: Political Knowledge and Viewership of Presidential Events.” Under review.
  5. Field experiments on race-of-caller effects on support for marriage equality. With Melissa Michelson.
  6.  “All in the Family: How Framing Effects Impact Support for Gay Marriage.” Under review. With Melissa Michelson.
  7.  “Think Outside Your Political Box: Using the Classroom to Reduce the Effects of Motivated Reasoning and Elite Political Polarization.” Working paper for teaching and learning journal.

**I’m more than happy to discuss any current projects or talk about new ones! Please feel free to contact me at