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The Social Identity Motives Behind Conspiracy Beliefs and Intentions

Biddlestone, Mikey (2021) The Social Identity Motives Behind Conspiracy Beliefs and Intentions. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.92369) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:92369)

Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only until December 2024.

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The main aim of this thesis is to explore the role that social motives play in the formation of conspiracist beliefs and intentions. Chapter 1 provides an overview of past work on the group processes and intergroup relations associated with conspiracy beliefs. Subsequent chapters use a social psychological perspective to answer three related questions: 1) what are the social motives associated with conspiracy beliefs (Chapter 2), 2) which ideological and identity motives are associated with conspiracy beliefs among members of social groups of different status (Chapter 3), and 3) can social identity motives help us understand how certain individuals not only believe in conspiracy theories, but are also willing to engage in conspiratorial plots (Chapter 4)? I have applied meta-analytic techniques to answer the first question, showing that conspiracy beliefs appear to be born out of attempts to enhance and defend the self-image, compensate for feelings of social exclusion, and defend the group image. I used multigroup analysis of cross-sectional survey designs to investigate the second question, showing that ethnic collective narcissism is underpinned by opposing ideologies depending on the social status of the group in question. Finally, I used standard regression analyses of similar cross-sectional survey designs to inform our understanding of the third question, showing that collective narcissists are not only particularly willing to believe in conspiracy theories, but they are also willing to conspire against fellow ingroup members. Implications and recommendations for future research are discussed, including the need to implement more experimental or longitudinal designs.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Cichocka, Aleksandra
Thesis advisor: Douglas, Karen
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.92369
Uncontrolled keywords: Conspiracy beliefs, intentions, social motives, collective narcissism
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Funders: [UNSPECIFIED] Graduate Teaching Assistantship, University of Kent
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2021 14:10 UTC
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2021 11:13 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Biddlestone, Mikey.

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