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Examining the monological nature of conspiracy theories

Sutton, Robbie M. and Douglas, Karen (2014) Examining the monological nature of conspiracy theories. In: van Prooijen, Jan Willem and van Lange, Paul A. M., eds. Power, politics, and paranoia: Why people are suspicious of their leaders. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-03580-5. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:35006)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.


(Summary prepared for this repository). This chapter critically examines the often made claim that endorsement of conspiracy theories is characteristic of a "monological" world view (Goertzel, 1994) - in which claims about the causes of an event are not weighed against specific evidence about the event itself so much as abstract, mutually supportive beliefs about the pattern of previous events. Although beliefs in various conspiracy theories are robustly correlated, so that people who believe in one conspiracy theory are likely to believe in several others, this does not in itself demonstrate that conspiracy beliefs are rooted in, or symptomatic of, a monological worldview. There is little evidence to suggest the mindsets of adherents of conspiracy theories are generally more monological - in fact, some research suggests that 'conspiracy theorists' are more open, rather than more closed, to new ideas. Further, some conspiracy theories contradict, rather than reinforce, other conspiracy theories, suggesting that they do not comprise a closed ecosystem of mutually supportive ideas. The authors outline other accounts of why beliefs in various conspiracy theories tend to cluster together. For example, these beliefs are associated with similar personality variables, beliefs about the self, and beliefs about the world. Also explaining their correlation, they may be best viewed not as separate psychological variables but as facets of an underlying variable. The authors conclude that further research is needed to test some of the interesting predictions that may be derived from the monological worldview position. In the meantime, to portray conspiracy belief as a symptom of a monological world view is not yet warranted empirically, and may be unfairly derogatory.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Robbie Sutton
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2013 00:53 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 10:56 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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