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Conspiracist ideation in Britain and Austria: Evidence of a monological belief system and associations between individual psychological differences and real-world and fictitious conspiracy theories

Swami, Viren and Coles, Rebecca and Stieger, Stefan and Pietschnig, Jakob and Furnham, Adrian and Rehim, Sherry and Voracek, Martin (2011) Conspiracist ideation in Britain and Austria: Evidence of a monological belief system and associations between individual psychological differences and real-world and fictitious conspiracy theories. British Journal of Psychology, 102 (3). pp. 443-463. ISSN 0007-1269

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8295.2010.02004.x

Abstract

Despite evidence of widespread belief in conspiracy theories, there remains a dearth of research on the individual difference correlates of conspiracist ideation. In two studies, we sought to overcome this limitation by examining correlations between conspiracist ideation and a range of individual psychological factors. In Study 1, 817 Britons indicated their agreement with conspiracist ideation concerning the July 7, 2005 (7/7), London bombings, and completed a battery of individual difference scales. Results showed that stronger belief in 7/7 conspiracy theories was predicted by stronger belief in other real-world conspiracy theories, greater exposure to conspiracist ideation, higher political cynicism, greater support for democratic principles, more negative attitudes to authority, lower self-esteem, and lower Agreeableness. In Study 2, 281 Austrians indicated their agreement with an entirely fictitious conspiracy theory and completed a battery of individual difference measures not examined in Study 1. Results showed that belief in the entirely fictitious conspiracy theory was significantly associated with stronger belief in other real-world conspiracy theories, stronger paranormal beliefs, and lower crystallized intelligence. These results are discussed in terms of the potential of identifying individual difference constellations among conspiracy theorists.

Item Type:Article
Research Community:University of Westminster > Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages, School of
ID Code:9560
Deposited On:26 Jul 2011 16:02
Last Modified:26 Jul 2011 16:02

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