From Feinberg, Willer and Kovacheff (2017)

Studies 1-3 provide consistent evidence that the use of extreme protest tactics led observers to feel less social identification with the movement and, as a result, support the movement less. This effect was found for a variety of extreme protest tactics – including the use of inflammatory rhetoric, blocking traffic, and vandalism – and affected perceptions of diverse movements. Finally, we explored the motives underlying the potential use of extreme protest tactics, finding that strong advocates for a cause and social movement activists believed extreme protest tactics would be effective not only for raising awareness of, but also recruiting popular support for, their cause (Studies 4a & 4b).

This working paper argues that the use of ‘extreme protest tactics’, i.e. civil disobedience and the like, decreases (immediate) popular support of a movement or cause. It has a long list limitations, so I’m not entirely convinced yet, but I’ll have to keep an eye on this.

Feinberg, Matthew and Willer, Robb and Kovacheff, Chloe (2017). Extreme Protest Tactics Reduce Popular Support for Social Movements. Available at SSRN:

From Zhang & Counts (2016)

We also find that the anti-abortion side exhibits greater unity and greater intensity of emotions expressed, and that male constituents overall express moral values and personal concerns that are more in line with anti- abortion than females.

We also find that using only male Twitter messages lead to a better fit for policy diffusion than using female Twitter users. This shows a dominant role for male ideology in the diffusion of recent anti-abortion policy.

While these findings make sense given the wave of abortion legislation in the anti-abortion direction, they are also disconcerting because of the outsize impact of abortion policies on the lives and bodies of women.


Zhang, Amy X., and Counts, Scott (2016). “Gender and Ideology in the Spread of Anti-Abortion Policy.Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM.