Dead and alive: Belief in contradictory conspiracy theories.

Wood, Michael J. and Douglas, Karen and Sutton, Robbie M. (2012) Dead and alive: Belief in contradictory conspiracy theories. Social Psychology and Personality Science, 3 . pp. 767-773. ISSN 1948-5506. (Full text available)

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Abstract

Conspiracy theories can form a monological belief system: a self-sustaining worldview comprised of a network of mutually supportive beliefs. The present research shows that even endorsement of mutually incompatible conspiracy theories are positively correlated. In Study 1 (n = 137), the more participants believed that Princess Diana faked her own death, the more they believed that she was murdered. In Study 2 (n = 102), the more participants believed that Osama Bin Laden was already dead when U.S. special forces raided his compound in Pakistan, the more they believed he is still alive. Hierarchical regression models showed that mutually incompatible conspiracy theories are positively associated because both are associated with the view that the authorities are engaged in a cover-up (Study 2). The monological nature of conspiracy belief appears to be driven not by conspiracy theories directly supporting one another, but by broader beliefs supporting conspiracy theories in general.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Karen Douglas
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2012 10:59
Last Modified: 16 May 2014 14:09
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/28566 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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