This study investigates how people form opinions about such developments, using mineral exploration and mining as an example. A representative sample were randomly assigned to (i) read information supporting or opposing mining, (ii) either state their position on the topic after reading this information or not, (iii) read counterarguments from the opposing perspective presented either alongside the original information or in isolation. We recorded a primacy effect: the first information that participants read biased subsequent opinion. The findings underscore the importance of the first information on the topic one encounters and suggest that opinions formed on the basis of this information can be difficult to change. The research highlights:
• Public support for green developments hinges on the first information people receive.
• Early expression of attitudes makes individuals less receptive to conflicting information.
• Counteracting primacy effect requires presenting opposing information without repeating the initial information.
• Individuals with high levels of environmental concern may struggle to support green developments if they involve environmental risks.
• Higher place attachment is associated with lower support for developments that involve changes to people's localities.
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