Does it take one to know one? Endorsement of conspiracy theories is influenced by personal willingness to conspire.

Douglas, K.M. and Sutton, R.M. (2011) Does it take one to know one? Endorsement of conspiracy theories is influenced by personal willingness to conspire. British Journal of Social Psychology, 50 (3). pp. 544-552. ISSN 0144-6665 . (Full text available)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8309.2010.02018.x

Abstract

We advance a new account of why people endorse conspiracy theories, arguing that individuals use the social-cognitive tool of projection when making social judgments about others. In two studies, we found that individuals were more likely to endorse conspiracy theories if they thought they would be willing, personally, to participate in the alleged conspiracies. Study 1 established an association between conspiracy beliefs and personal willingness to conspire, that fully mediated a relationship between Machiavellianism and conspiracy beliefs. In Study 2, participants primed with their own morality were less inclined than controls to endorse conspiracy theories – a finding fully mediated by personal willingness to conspire. These results suggest that some people think “they conspired” because they think “I would conspire”.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Karen Douglas
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2011 12:47
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2014 17:22
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/26187 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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