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Does self-love or self-hate predict conspiracy beliefs? Narcissism, self-esteem and the endorsement of conspiracy theories

Cichocka, Aleksandra, Marchlewska, Marta, Golec de Zavala, Agnieszka (2016) Does self-love or self-hate predict conspiracy beliefs? Narcissism, self-esteem and the endorsement of conspiracy theories. Social Psychological and Personality Science, . ISSN 1948-5506. E-ISSN 1948-5514. (doi:10.1177/1948550615616170) (KAR id:50774)

Abstract

Across three studies, we examined the role of self-evaluation in predicting conspiracy beliefs. Previous research linked the endorsement of conspiracy theories to low self-esteem. We propose that conspiracy theories should rather be appealing to individuals with exaggerated feelings of self-love, such as narcissists, due to their paranoid tendencies. In Study 1 general conspiracist beliefs were predicted by high individual narcissism but low self-esteem. Study 2 demonstrated that these effects were differentially mediated by paranoid thoughts, and independent of the effects of collective narcissism. Individual narcissism predicted generalized conspiracist beliefs, regardless of the conspiracy theories implicating in-group or out-group members, while collective narcissism predicted belief in out-group but not in-group conspiracies. Study 3 replicated the effects of individual narcissism and self-esteem on the endorsement of various specific conspiracy theories and demonstrated that the negative effect of self-esteem was largely accounted for by the general negativity towards humans associated with low self-esteem.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/1948550615616170
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Aleksandra Cichocka
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2015 14:48 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 04:13 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/50774 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Cichocka, Aleksandra: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1703-1586
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