Conspiracy belief

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Concept.png Conspiracy beliefRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Belief of a "conspiracy theorist" in a "conspiracy theory"

The "conspiracy belief" is a component of academic study of "conspiracy theories". Distinct from the theory itself, it refers to the belief of a "conspiracy theorist" in a "conspiracy theory".

Minority view?

The academic study of "conspiracy theories" sometimes assumes that “[Conspiracy beliefs] are — almost by definition — not shared by the majority of people.” [1] This does not sit easily with the general inclusion of doubt about Lee Harvey Oswald as the "lone nut" behind the JFK Assassination under the label of "conspiracy theory", which the majority of US citizens subscribe to.[2]

Negative correlation with education

Jan-Willem van Prooijen and Karen Douglas write that “belief in conspiracy theories is positively associated with intuitive rather than analytic thinking. Consistently, higher education predicts lower conspiracy beliefs, a finding that is partly mediated by a tendency among the less educated to attribute agency and intentionality where it does not exist, and stronger analytic thinking skills among the higher educated.” [3] Peter Dale Scott advances an alternative explanation for the same observation — that people of higher social status are less inclined to criticise the validity of the social system in which they have that status.


Related Quotations

"Conspiracy theory/Academic research"“Work in online misinformation details how alternative media intentionally fabricate conspiracy theories, spreading false allegations ranging from reptilian presidents to staged terrorist attacks”Robbie Sutton
Aleksandra Cichocka
Karen Douglas
June 2017
"Conspiracy theory/Academic research"“history has repeatedly shown that corporate and political elites do conspire against public interests. Conspiracy theories play an important role in bringing their misdeeds into the light.”Robbie Sutton
Aleksandra Cichocka
Karen Douglas
June 2017
"Conspiracy theory/Academic research"“they are emotional given that negative emotions and not rational deliberations cause conspiracy beliefs... One limitation... is that the field is lacking a solid theoretical framework that contextualizes previous findings, that enables novel predictions, and that suggests interventions to reduce the prevalence of conspiracy theories in society.”Jan-Willem van Prooijen
Karen Douglas
Conspiracy theories/Academic research/Projectionthey are emotional given that negative emotions and not rational deliberations cause conspiracy beliefs; and they are social as conspiracy beliefs are closely associated with psychological motivations underlying intergroup conflict”Jan-Willem van Prooijen
Karen Douglas
Conspiracy theories/Academic research/Projection“conspiracy beliefs were found to be more prevalent among disadvantaged groups, who presumably have a stronger need to explain events beyond their control... conspiracy thinking reflects a “psychological need to explain events”, and may be sustained by willingness to impose implausible causal narratives on event sequences.”Robbie Sutton
Reine C. van der Wal
Jens Lange
Joao P. N. Braga
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  1. Too special to be duped: Need for uniqueness motivates conspiracy beliefs , 2016
  2. saved at saved at
  3. Belief in conspiracy theories: Basic principles of an emerging research domain , 2018