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“I know things they don’t know!” The role of need for uniqueness in belief in conspiracy theories

Lantian, Anthony, Muller, Dominique, Nurra, Cecile, Douglas, Karen (2017) “I know things they don’t know!” The role of need for uniqueness in belief in conspiracy theories. Social Psychology, 48 (3). pp. 160-173. ISSN 1864-9335. (doi:10.1027/1864-9335/a000306) (KAR id:62060)

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In the current research, we investigated whether belief in conspiracy theories satisfies people’s need for uniqueness. We found that the tendency to believe in conspiracy theories was associated with the feeling of possessing scarce information about the situations explained by the conspiracy theories (Study 1) and higher need for uniqueness (Study 2). A further two studies using two different manipulations of need for uniqueness (Studies 3 and 4), showed that people in a high need for uniqueness condition displayed higher conspiracy belief than people in a low need for uniqueness condition. This conclusion is strengthened by a small-scale meta-analysis. These studies suggest that conspiracy theories may serve people’s desire to be unique, highlighting a motivational underpinning of conspiracy belief.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000306
Uncontrolled keywords: Conspiracy theories, Need for uniqueness, Belief, Motivational processes
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Karen Douglas
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2017 08:40 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:46 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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