Economics at your fingertips  

Is Belief in Conspiracy Theories Pathological? A Survey Experiment on the Cognitive Roots of Extreme Suspicion

Scott Radnitz and Patrick Underwood

British Journal of Political Science, 2017, vol. 47, issue 1, 113-129

Abstract: What are the origins of belief in conspiracy theories? The dominant approach to studying conspiracy theories links belief to social stresses or personality type, and does not take into account the situational and fluctuating nature of attitudes. In this study, a survey experiment, subjects are presented with a mock news article designed to induce conspiracy belief. Subjects are randomly assigned three manipulations hypothesized to heighten conspiracy perceptions: a prime to induce anxiety; information about the putative conspirator; and the number and identifiability of the victim(s). The results indicate that conspiratorial perceptions can emerge from both situational triggers and subtle contextual variables. Conspiracy beliefs emerge as ordinary people make judgments about the social and political world.

Date: 2017
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) ... type/journal_article link to article abstract page (text/html)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

More articles in British Journal of Political Science from Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Kirk Stebbing ().

Page updated 2023-05-18
Handle: RePEc:cup:bjposi:v:47:y:2017:i:01:p:113-129_00