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The dark side of social movements: Social identity, non-conformity, and the lure of conspiracy theories

Sternisko, Anni, Cichocka, Aleksandra, van Bavel, Jay J. (2020) The dark side of social movements: Social identity, non-conformity, and the lure of conspiracy theories. Current Opinion in Psychology, 35 . pp. 1-6. E-ISSN 2352-250X. (doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2020.02.007) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:80196)

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Social change does not always equal social progress--there is a dark side of social movements. We discuss conspiracy theory beliefs –beliefs that a powerful group of people are secretly working towards a malicious goal–as one contributor to destructive social movements. Research has linked conspiracy theory beliefs to anti-democratic attitudes, prejudice and non-normative political behavior. We propose a framework to understand the motivational processes behind conspiracy theories and associated social identities and collective action. We argue that conspiracy theories comprise at least two components – content and qualities— that appeal to people differently based on their motivations. Social identity motives draw people foremost to contents of conspiracy theories while uniqueness motives draw people to qualities of conspiracy theories.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2020.02.007
Uncontrolled keywords: conspiracy theories
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Social Psychology
Depositing User: Aleksandra Cichocka
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2020 09:20 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2020 14:10 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Cichocka, Aleksandra:
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