Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-5db6c4db9b-cfm7h Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-23T05:38:57.369Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

33 - Conspiracy Theory Belief and Conspiratorial Thinking

from Part III - Contemporary Challenges to Democracy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2022

Danny Osborne
University of Auckland
Chris G. Sibley
University of Auckland
Get access


Conspiracy theories (CTs) and CT belief stem from uncertain, hard to explain, crisis situations, especially when strongly held social and political identities are threatened making people feel anxious, insecure, or out of control. Connected to alarming developments in world politics, CTs are no longer manifestations of extremists and paranoids. As salience increases, scholars continue to examine their antecedents and consequences. This chapter highlights the interdisciplinary roots of the study of CTs and CT belief. It sets the stage with important definitions and measurement challenges, then reviews scholarship on psychological, social, political, and situational factors behind CTs and CT belief. Consequences are vast, allowing for only brief discussion of the spread, persistence, and prevalence related to negative health, social, political, and environmental effects. As it is unlikely that broad weaponisation of CTs or their blaze online will cease in the near future, the chapter concludes by discussing directions for future research.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Abalakina-Paap, M., Stephan, W. G., Craig, T., & Gregory, W. L. (1999). Beliefs in conspiracies. Political Psychology, 20(3), 637647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Adam-Troian, J., Wagner‐Egger, P., Motyl, M., et al. (2020). Investigating the links between cultural values and belief in conspiracy theories: The key roles of collectivism and masculinity. Political Psychology, 42(4), 597618. Scholar
Allcott, H., & Gentzkow, M. (2017). Social media and fake news in the 2016 election. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(2), 211236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Allcott, H., Gentzkow, M., & Chuan, Y. (2019). Trends in the diffusion of misinformation on social media. Research and Politics, 6(2), 18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Allport, G. W., & Postman, L. (1947). The psychology of rumor. Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
Anspach, N. M., & Carlson, T. N. (2020). What to believe? Social media commentary and belief in misinformation. Political Behavior, 42(3), 697718.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Appleby, J., & Federico, C. M. (2018). The racialization of electoral fairness in the 2008 and 2012 United States presidential elections. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 21(7), 979996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Atkinson, M. D., & DeWitt, D. (2019). The politics of disruption: Social choice theory and conspiracy theory politics. In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 298318). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Baden, C., & Sharon, T. (2020). BLINDED BY THE LIES? Toward an integrated definition of conspiracy theories. Communication Theory, 31(1), 82106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bartlett, J., & Miller, C. (2010). The power of unreason: Conspiracy theories, extremism and counter-terrorism. Demos.Google Scholar
Basham, L. (2003). Malevolent global conspiracy. Journal of Social Philosophy, 34(1), 91103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Benegal, S. D., & Scruggs, L. A. (2018). Correcting misinformation about climate change: The impact of partisanship in an experimental setting. Climatic Change, 148(1), 6180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bennet, W. L., & Livingston, S. (2018). The disinformation order: Disruptive communication and the decline of democratic institutions. European Journal of Communication, 33(2), 122139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berinsky, A. J. (2015). Rumors and health care reform: Experiments in political misinformation. British Journal of Political Science, 47(2), 241262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berinsky, A. J. (2017). Telling the truth about believing the lies? Evidence for the limited prevalence of expressive survey responding. The Journal of Politics, 80(1), 211224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Biddlestone, M., Green, R., & Douglas, K. M. (2020). Cultural orientation, powerlessness, belief in conspiracy theories, and intentions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. British Journal of Social Psychology, 59(3), 663673.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bode, L., & Vraga, E. K. (2018). See something, say something: Correction of global health misinformation on social media. Health Communication, 33(9), 11311140.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bogart, L. M., & Thorburn, S. (2006). Relationship of African Americans’ socio demographic characteristics to belief in conspiracies about HIV/AIDS and birth control. Journal of the National Medical Association, 98(7), 11441150.Google Scholar
Bolsen, T., Druckman, J. N., & Cook, F. L. (2015). Citizens’, scientists’, and policy advisors’ beliefs about global warming. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 658(1), 271295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brotherton, R., French, C., & Pickering, A. D. (2013). Measuring belief in conspiracy theories: The generic conspiracist beliefs scale. Frontiers in Psychology, 4(279), Article 279.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bruder, M., Haffke, P., Neave, N., Nouripanah, N., & Imhoff, R. (2013). Measuring individual differences in generic beliefs in conspiracy theories across cultures: Conspiracy Mentality Questionnaire. Frontiers in Psychology, 4(279), Article 225.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Butter, M., & Knight, P. (2019). The history of conspiracy theory research: A review and commentary. In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 3346). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Byford, J., & Billig, M. (2001). The emergence of antisemitic conspiracy theories in Yugoslavia during the war with NATO. Patterns of Prejudice, 35(4), 5063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Carey, J. M., Chi, V., Flynn, D. J., Nyhan, B., & Zeitzoff, T. (2020). The effects of corrective information about disease epidemics and outbreaks: Evidence from Zika and yellow fever in Brazil. Science Advances, 6(5), Article eaaw7449.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cassese, E. C., Farhart, C. E., & Miller, J. M. (2020). Gender differences in COVID-19 conspiracy theory beliefs. Politics and Gender, 16(4), 10091018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cichocka, A., Marchlewska, M., & Golec de Zavala, A. (2016). Does self-love or self-hate predict conspiracy beliefs? Narcissism, self-esteem, and the endorsement of conspiracy theories. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(2), 157166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clarke, S. (2002). Conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorizing. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 32(2), 131150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clifford, S., Kim, Y., & Sullivan, B. W. (2019). An improved question format for measuring conspiracy beliefs. Public Opinion Quarterly, 83(4), 690722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Coady, D. (2006). Conspiracy theories: The philosophical debate. Ashgate.Google Scholar
Crocker, J., Luhtanen, R., Broadnax, S., & Blaine, B. E. (1999). Belief in U.S. government conspiracies against blacks among black and white college students: Powerlessness or system blame? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25(8), 941953.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cullen, J. T. (2019). Learning about conspiracy theories: Experiences in science and risk communication with the public about the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 135148). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Davis, J., Wetherell, G., & Henry, P. J. (2018). Social devaluation of African Americans and race-related conspiracy theories. European Journal of Social Psychology, 48(7), 9991010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dentith, M. R. X. (2016). When inferring to a conspiracy might be the best explanation. Social Epistemology, 30(5–6), 572591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
DeWitt, D., Atkinson, M. D., & Wegner, D. (2019). How conspiracy theories spread. In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 319333). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
DiFonzo, N. (2019). Conspiracy rumor psychology. In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 257268). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
DiFonzo, N., Beckstead, J. W., Stupak, N., & Walders, K. (2016). Validity judgments of rumors heard multiple times: The shape of the truth effect. Social Influence, 11(1), 2239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Douglas, K. M., & Sutton, R. M. (2008). The hidden impact of conspiracy theories: Perceived and actual influence of theories surrounding the death of Princess Diana. Journal of Social Psychology, 148(2), 210222.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Douglas, K. M., Sutton, R. M., Callan, M. J., Dawtry, R. J., & Harvey, A. J. (2016). Someone is pulling the strings: Hypersensitive agency detection and belief in conspiracy theories. Thinking & Reasoning, 22(1), 5777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Douglas, K. M., Sutton, R. M., & Cichocka, A. (2017). The psychology of conspiracy theories. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26(6), 538542.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Douglas, K. M., Uscinski, J. E., Sutton, R. M., et al. (2019). Understanding conspiracy theories. Advances in Political Psychology, 40(1), 335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Drinkwater, K., Dagnall, N., & Parker, A. (2012). Reality testing, conspiracy theories and paranormal beliefs. Journal of Parapsychology, 76(1), 5777.Google Scholar
Edelson, J., Alduncin, A., Krewson, C., Sieja, J. A., & Uscinski, J. E. (2017). The effects of conspiratorial thinking and motivated reasoning on belief in election fraud. Political Research Quarterly, 70(4), 933946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Einstein, K. L., & Glick, D. M. (2015). Do I think BLS data are BS? The consequences of conspiracy theories. Political Behavior, 37, 679701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Enders, A. M., & Smallpage, S. M. (2019). Polls, plots, and party politics: Conspiracy theories in contemporary America. In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 298318). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Enders, A. M., Smallpage, S. M., & Lupton, R. N. (2020). Are all ‘Birthers’ conspiracy theorists? On the relationship between conspiratorial thinking and political orientations. British Journal of Political Science, 50(3), 849866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Enders, A. M., Uscinski, J. E., Klofstad, C., & Stoler, J. (2020). The different forms of COVID-19 misinformation and their consequences. The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review. Scholar
Farhart, C. E., Miller, J. M., & Saunders, K. L. (2021). Conspiracy stress or relief? Learned helplessness and conspiratorial thinking. In Barker, D. & Suhay, E. (Eds.), The politics of truth in polarized America (pp. 223256). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Federico, C. M., Williams, A. L., & Vitriol, J. A. (2018). The role of system identity threat in conspiracy theory endorsement. European Journal of Social Psychology, 48(7), 927938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fekete, L. (2012). The Muslim conspiracy theory and the Oslo massacre. Race and Class, 53(3), 3047.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Filer, T. (2019). The hidden and the revealed: Styles of political conspiracy theory in Kirchnerism. In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 395407). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Flynn, D. J., Nyhan, B., & Reifler, J. (2017). The nature and origins of misperceptions: Understanding false and unsupported beliefs about politics. Advances in Political Psychology, 38(1), 127150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fowler, E. F., & Gollust, S. E. (2015). The content and effect of politicized health controversies. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 658(1), 155171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Franks, B., Bangerter, A., Bauer, M. W., Hall, M., & Noort, M. C. (2017). Beyond ‘monologicality’? Exploring conspiracist worldviews. Frontiers in Psychology, 8(861).CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Freeman, D., & Bentall, R. P. (2017). The concomitants of conspiracy concerns. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 52(5), 595604.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gaines, B. J., Kuklinski, J. H., Quirk, P. J., Peyton, B., & Verkuilen, J. (2007). Same facts, different interpretations: Partisan motivation and opinion on Iraq. The Journal of Politics, 69(4), 957974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Galliford, N., & Furnham, A. (2017). Individual difference factors and beliefs in medical and political conspiracy theories. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 58(5), 422428.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gentzkow, M. A., & Shapiro, J. M. (2004). Media, education and anti-Americanism in the Muslim world. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 18(3), 117133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Georgiou, N., Delfabbro, P., & Balzanb, R. (2020). COVID-19-related conspiracy beliefs and their relationship with perceived stress and pre-existing conspiracy beliefs. Personality and Individual Differences, 166, Article 110201.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Goertzel, T. (1994). Belief in conspiracy theories. Political Psychology, 15(4), 731742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goertzel, T. (2010). Conspiracy theories in science. EMBO Reports, 11(7), 493499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Golec de Zavala, A., & Federico, C. M. (2018). Collective narcissism and the growth of conspiracy thinking over the course of the 2016 United States presidential election: A longitudinal analysis. European Journal of Social Psychology, 48(7), 10111018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Golec de Zavala, A., & Lantos, D. (2020). Collective narcissism and its social consequences: The bad and the ugly. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 29(3), 273278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Green, R., & Douglas, K. M. (2018). Anxious attachment and belief in conspiracy theories. Personality and Individual Differences, 125, 3037.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Greenhill, K. M., & Oppenheim, B. (2017). Rumor has it: The adoption of unverified information in conflict zones. International Studies Quarterly, 61(3), 660676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grimes, D. R. (2016). On the viability of conspiratorial beliefs. PLoS ONE, 11(3), Article e0151003.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Grzesiak-Feldman, M. (2013). The effect of high-anxiety situations on conspiracy thinking. Current Psychology, 32(1), 100118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grzesiak-Feldman, M. (2015). Are the high authoritarians more prone to adopt conspiracy theories? The role of right-wing authoritarianism in conspiratorial thinking. In Bilewicz, M., Cichocka, A., & Soral, W. (Eds.), The psychology of conspiracy (pp. 99121). Routledge.Google Scholar
Grzesiak-Feldman, M., & Ejsmont, A. (2008). Paranoia and conspiracy thinking of Jews, Arabs, Germans, and Russians in a Polish sample. Psychological Report, 102(3), 884886.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Guess, A., Lockett, D., Lyons, B., Montgomery, J. M., Nyhan, B., & Reifler, J. (2020). ‘Fake news’ may have limited effects beyond increasing beliefs in false claims. The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review. Scholar
Guess, A., Nyhan, B., & Reifler, J. (2020). Exposure to untrustworthy websites in the 2016 US election. Nature Human Behaviour, 4, 472480.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Harambam, J., & Aupers, S. (2017). I am not a conspiracy theorist: Relational identifications in the Dutch conspiracy milieu. Cultural Sociology, 11(1), 113129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hofstadter, R. (1964). The paranoid style in American politics and other essays. Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Imhoff, R., & Bruder, M. (2014). Speaking (un-) truth to power: Conspiracy mentality as a generalised political attitude. European Journal of Personality, 28(1), 2543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Imhoff, R., Dieterle, L., & Lamberty, P. (2021). Resolving the puzzle of conspiracy worldview and political activism: Belief in secret plots decreases normative but increases nonnormative political engagement. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 12(1), 7179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Imhoff, R., & Lamberty, P. (2020). A bioweapon or a hoax? The link between distinct conspiracy beliefs about the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and pandemic behavior. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 11(8), 11101118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jardina, A., & Traugott, M. (2019). The genesis of the birther rumor: Partisanship, racial attitudes, and political knowledge. Journal of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, 4(1), 6080.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jolley, D., & Douglas, K. M. (2014a). The social consequences of conspiracism: Exposure to conspiracy theories decreases intentions to engage in politics and reduce one’s carbon footprint. British Journal of Psychology, 105(1), 3556.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jolley, D., & Douglas, K. M. (2014b). The effects of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories on vaccination intentions. PLoS ONE, 9(2), Article e89177.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jolley, D., & Douglas, K. M. (2017). Prevention is better than cure: Addressing anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 47(8), 459469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jolley, D., Douglas, K. M., & Sutton, R. M. (2018). Blaming a few bad apples to save a threatened barrel: The system-justifying function of conspiracy theories. Political Psychology, 39(2), 465478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jolley, D., Meleady, R., & Douglas, K. M. (2020). Exposure to intergroup conspiracy theories promotes prejudice which spreads across groups. British Journal of Psychology, 111(1), 1735.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jolley, D., & Paterson, J. L. (2020). Pylons ablaze: Examining the role of 5G COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs and support for violence. British Journal of Social Psychology, 59(3), 628640.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jost, J. T., van der Linden, S., Panagopoulos, C., & Hardin, C. D. (2018). Ideological asymmetries in conformity, desire for shared reality, and the spread of misinformation. Current Opinion in Psychology, 23, 7783.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kahan, D. (2013). Ideology, motivated reasoning, and cognitive reflection. Judgment and Decision Making, 8(4), 407424.Google Scholar
Karp, J. A., Nai, A., & Norris, P. (2018). Dial ‘F’ for fraud: Explaining citizens suspicions about elections. Electoral Studies, 53, 1119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keeley, B. L. (1999). Of conspiracy theories. Journal of Philosophy, 96(3), 109126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Klein, C., Clutton, P., & Dunn, A. G. (2018). Pathways to conspiracy: The social and linguistic precursors of involvement in Reddit’s conspiracy theory forum. PLoS ONE, 14(11), Article e0225098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Knight, P. (2000). Conspiracy culture: From the Kennedy assassination to the X-Files. Routledge.Google Scholar
Kofta, M., & Sędek, G. (2005). Conspiracy stereotypes of Jews during systemic transformation in Poland. International Journal of Sociology, 35(1), 4064.Google Scholar
Krosnick, J. A., Malhotra, N., & Mittal, U. (2014). Public misunderstanding of political facts: How question wording affected estimates of partisan differences in birtherism. Public Opinion Quarterly, 78(1), 147165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krouwel, A., Kutiyski, Y., van Prooijen, J.-W., Martinsson, J., & Markstedt, E. (2017). Does extreme political ideology predict conspiracy beliefs, economic evaluations and political trust? Evidence from Sweden. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 5(2), 435462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kuklinski, J. H., Quirk, P. J., Jerit, J., Schwieder, D., & Rich, R. F. (2000). Misinformation and the currency of democratic citizenship. Journal of Politics, 62(3), 790816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kunda, Z. (1990). The case for motivated reasoning. Psychological Bulletin, 108(3), 480498.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Laine, E. E., & Parakkal, R. (2017). National security, personal insecurity, and political conspiracies: The persistence of Americans’ beliefs in 9/11 conspiracy theories. IUP Journal of International Relations, 11, 1641.Google Scholar
Lantian, A., Muller, D., Nurra, C., & Douglas, K. M. (2016). Measuring belief in conspiracy theories: Validation of a French and English single-item scale. International Review of Social Psychology, 29(1), 114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lantian, A., Muller, D., Nurra, C., & Douglas, K. M. (2017). ‘I know things they don’t know!’ The role of need for uniqueness in belief in conspiracy theories. Social Psychology, 48(3), 160173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lantian, A., Muller, D., Nurra, C., Klein, O., Berjot, S., & Pantazi, M. (2018). Stigmatized beliefs: Conspiracy theories, anticipated negative evaluation of the self, and fear of social exclusion. European Journal of Social Psychology, 48(7), 939954.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leman, P. J., & Cinnirella, M. (2013). Beliefs in conspiracy theories and the need for cognitive closure. Frontiers in Psychology, 4(378).CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lewandowsky, S. (2019). In whose hands the future? In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 149177). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Lewandowsky, S., Cook, J., Oberauer, K., Brophy, S., Lloyd, E. A., & Marriott, M. (2015). Recurrent fury: Conspiratorial discourse in the blogosphere triggered by research on the role of conspiracist ideation in climate denial. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 3(1), 142178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lewandowsky, S., Ecker, U. K. H., Seifert, C. M. Schwarz, N., & Cook, J. (2012). Misinformation and its correction: Continued influence and successful debiasing. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 13(3), 106131.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lewandowsky, S., Gignac, G. E., & Oberauer, K. (2013). The role of conspiracist ideation and worldviews in predicting rejection of science. PLoS ONE, 8(10), Article e75637.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lodge, M., & Taber, C. S. (2013). The rationalizing voter. Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lunz Trujillo, K., Motta, M., Callaghan, T., & Sylvester, S. (2020). Correcting misperceptions about the MMR vaccine: Using psychological risk factors to inform targeted communication strategies. Political Research Quarterly, 74(2), 464478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lyons, B., Merola, V., & Reifler, J. (2019). Not just asking questions: Effects of implicit and explicit conspiracy information about vaccines and genetic modification. Health Communication, 34(14), 17411750.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Marchlewska, M., Cichocka, A., & Kossowska, M. (2018). Addicted to answers: Need for cognitive closure and the endorsement of conspiracy beliefs. European Journal of Social Psychology, 48(2), 109117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Marinthe, G., Brown, G., Delouvée, S., & Jolley, D. (2020). Looking out for myself: Exploring the relationship between conspiracy mentality, perceived personal risk, and COVID‐19 prevention measures. British Journal of Health Psychology, 25(4), 957980.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mashuri, A., & Zaduqisti, E. (2014). We believe in your conspiracy if we distrust you: The role of intergroup distrust in structuring the effect of Islamic identification, competitive victimhood, and group incompatibility on belief in a conspiracy theory. Journal of Tropical Psychology, 4(11), 114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mashuri, A., & Zaduqisti, E. (2015). The effect of intergroup threat and social identity salience on the belief in conspiracy theories over terrorism in Indonesia: Collective angst as a mediator. International Journal of Psychological Research, 8(1), 2435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mays, V. M., Coles, C. N., & Cochran, S. D. (2012). Is there a legacy of the U.S. public health syphilis study at Tuskegee in HIV/AIDS-related beliefs among heterosexual African Americans and Latinos? Ethics & Behavior, 22(6), 461471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McClosky, H., & Chong, D. (1985). Similarities and differences between left-wing and right-wing radicals. British Journal of Political Science, 15(3), 329363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McHoskey, J. W. (1995). Case closed? On the John F. Kennedy assassination: Biased assimilation of evidence and attitude polarization. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 17(3), 395409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McKenzie-McHarg, A. (2019). Conspiracy theory: The nineteenth-century prehistory of a twentieth-century concept. In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 6281). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Miller, J. M. (2020a). Do COVID-19 conspiracy theory beliefs form a monological belief system? Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue Canadienne de Science Politique, 53(2), 319326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miller, J. M. (2020b). Psychological and situational factors combine to boost COVID-19 conspiracy theory beliefs. Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue Canadienne de Science Politique, 53(2), 327334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miller, J. M., Farhart, C. E., & Saunders, K. L. (2018). Why do people share conspiracy theories? Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
Miller, J. M., Saunders, K. L., & Farhart, C. E. (2016). Conspiracy endorsement as motivated reasoning: The moderating roles of political knowledge and trust. American Journal of Political Science, 60(4), 824844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moore, A. (2016). Conspiracy and conspiracy theories in democratic politics. Critical Review, 28(1), 123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Motta, M., Callaghan, T., & Sylvester, S. (2018). Knowing less but presuming more: Dunning-Kruger effects and the endorsement of anti-vaccine policy attitudes. Social Science & Medicine, 211, 274281.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Motta, M., Stecuła, D., & Farhart, C. (2020). How right-leaning media coverage of COVID-19 facilitated the spread of misinformation in the early stages of the pandemic in the U.S. Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue Canadienne De Science Politique, 53(2), 335342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nattrass, N. (2013). The AIDS conspiracy: Science fights back. Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nefes, T. S. (2015a). Scrutinizing impacts of conspiracy theories on readers’ political views: A rational choice perspective on anti-Semitic rhetoric in Turkey. British Journal of Sociology, 66(3), 557575.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Nefes, T. S. (2015b). Understanding the anti-Semitic rhetoric in Turkey through the Sevres syndrome. Turkish Studies, 16(4), 572587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nefes, T. S. (2019). The conspiratorial style in Turkish politics: Discussing the deep state in the parliament. In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 385394). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Nisbet, E. C., Cooper, K. E., & Garrett, R. K. (2015). The partisan brain: How dissonant science messages lead conservatives and liberals to (dis)trust science. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 658(1), 3666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nyhan, B. (2010). Why the ‘death panel’ myth wouldn’t die: Misinformation in the health care reform debate. The Forum, 8(1).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nyhan, B., & Reifler, J. (2010). When corrections fail: The persistence of political misperceptions. Political Behavior, 32(2), 303330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nyhan, B., & Reifler, J. (2015). The effect of fact‐checking on elites: A field experiment on U.S. state legislators. American Journal of Political Science, 59(3), 628640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nyhan, B., & Reifler, J. (2019). The roles of information deficits and identity threat in the prevalence of misperceptions. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 29(2), 222244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nyhan, B., & Zeitzoff, T. (2018). Conspiracy and misperception belief in the Middle East and North Africa. Journal of Politics, 80(4), 14001404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Oliver, J. E., & Wood, T. J. (2014a). Conspiracy theories and the paranoid style(s) of mass opinion. American Journal of Political Science, 58(4), 952966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Oliver, J. E., & Wood, T. J. (2014b). Medical conspiracy theories and health behaviors in the United States. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(5), 817818.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Onderco, M., & Stoeckel, F. (2020). Conspiratorial thinking and foreign policy views: Evidence from Central Europe. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties. Scholar
Orr, M., & Husting, G. (2019). Media marginalization of racial minorities: ‘Conspiracy theorists’ in U.S. ghettos and on the ‘Arab Street’. In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 8293). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Palm, R., Bolsen, T., & Kingsland, J. T. (2021). The effect of frames on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. medRxiv. Scholar
Parsons, S., Simmons, W., Shinhoster, F., & Kilburn, J. (1999). A test of the grapevine: An empirical examination of the conspiracy theories among African Americans. Sociological Spectrum, 19(2), 201222.Google Scholar
Pasek, J. (2019). Don’t trust the scientists! Rejecting the scientific consensus ‘conspiracy’. In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 201213). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Pasek, J., Stark, T. H., Krosnick, J. A., & Tompson, T. (2015). What motivates a conspiracy theory? Birther beliefs, partisanship, liberal-conservative ideology, and anti-black attitudes. Electoral Studies, 40, 482489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pasquetto, I. V., Swire-Thompson, B., Amazeen, M. A., et al. (2020). Tackling misinformation: What researchers could do with social media data. The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review. Scholar
Pennycook, G., & Rand, D. (2021). Research note: Examining false beliefs about voter fraud in the wake of the 2020 Presidential Election. The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review. Scholar
Pennycook, G., McPhetres, J., Bago, B., & Rand, D. G. (2020). Predictors of attitudes and misperceptions about COVID-19 in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S.A. PsyArXiv. Scholar
Pennycook, G., McPhetres, J., Zhang, Y., Lu, J. G., & Rand, D. G. (2020). Fighting COVID-19 misinformation on social media: Experimental evidence for a scalable accuracy-nudge intervention. Psychological Science, 31(7), 770780.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Petersen, M. B., Osmundsen, M., & Arceneaux, K. (2018). The ‘need for chaos’ and motivations to share hostile political rumors. PsyArXiv. Scholar
Pigden, C. (1995). Popper revisited, or what is wrong with conspiracy theories? Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 25(1), 334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Popper, K. R. (1972). Conjectures and refutations. Routledge Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
Poulsen, S., & Young, D. G. (2018). A history of fact checking in U.S. politics and election contexts. In Southwell, B. G., Thorson, E. A., & Sheble, L. (Eds.), Misinformation and mass audiences (pp. 232248). University of Texas Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Prior, M., Sood, G., & Khanna, K. (2015). You cannot be serious: The impact of accuracy incentives on partisan bias in reports of economic perceptions. Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 10(4), 489518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Quinn, S. C., Jamison, A. M., An, J., Hancock, G. R., & Freimuth, V. S. (2019). Measuring vaccine hesitancy, confidence, trust and flu vaccine uptake: Results of a national survey of White and African American adults. Vaccine, 37(9), 11681173.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Raab, M. H., Ortlieb, S. A., Auer, N., Guthmann, K., & Carbon, C.-C. (2013). Thirty shades of truth: Conspiracy theories as stories of individuation, not of pathological delusion. Frontiers in Psychology, 4(406).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Radnitz, S., & Underwood, P. (2017). Is belief in conspiracy theories pathological? A survey experiment on the cognitive roots of extreme suspicion. British Journal of Political Science, 47(1), 113129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Romer, D., & Jamieson, K. H. (2020). Conspiracy theories as barriers to controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. Social Science & Medicine, 263, Article 113356.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Roozenbeek, J., van der Linden, S., & Nygren, T. (2020). Prebunking interventions based on ‘inoculation’ theory can reduce susceptibility to misinformation across cultures. The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review. Scholar
Rottweiler, B., & Gill, P. (2020). Conspiracy beliefs and violent extremist intentions: The contingent effects of self-efficacy, self-control and law-related morality. Terrorism and Political Violence. Scholar
Sapountzis, A., & Condor, S. (2013). Conspiracy accounts as intergroup theories: Challenging dominant understandings of social power and political legitimacy. Political Psychology, 43(5), 731752.Google Scholar
Saunders, K. L. (2017). The impact of elite frames and motivated reasoning on beliefs in a global warming conspiracy: The promise and limits of trust. Research and Politics, 4(3), 19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sell, T. K., Hosangadi, D., & Trotochaud, M. (2020). Misinformation and the US Ebola communication crisis: Analyzing the veracity and content of social media messages related to a fear-inducing infectious disease outbreak. BMC Public Health, 20(1), Article 550.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Siddiqui, N. (2020). Who do you believe? Political parties and conspiracy theories in Pakistan. Party Politics, 26(2), 107119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Simmons, W. P., & Parsons, S. (2005). Beliefs in conspiracy theories among African Americans: A comparison of elites and masses. Social Science Quarterly, 86(3), 582598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smallpage, S. M. (2019). Conspiracy thinking, tolerance, and democracy. In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 187200). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Smallpage, S. M., Enders, A. M., & Uscinski, J. E. (2017). The partisan contours of conspiracy theory beliefs. Research and Politics, 4(4), 17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Southwell, B. G., Thorson, E. A., & Sheble, L. (2018). Introduction: Misinformation among mass audiences as a focus for inquiry. In Southwell, B. G., Thorson, E. A., & Sheble, L. (Eds.), Misinformation and mass audiences (pp. 111). University of Texas Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spinney, L. (2019). In Congo, fighting a virus and a groundswell of fake news. Science, 363(6424), 213214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stecuła, D. A., Kuru, O., & Jamieson, K. H. (2020). How trust in experts and media use affect acceptance of common anti-vaccination claims. The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review. Scholar
Stein, R., Swann, A. B., & Sarraf, M. (2020). Hearing from both sides: Differences between liberal and conservative attitudes toward scientific and experiential evidence. Political Psychology, 42(3), 443461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suhay, E., & Druckman, J. N. (2015). The politics of science: Political values and the production, communication, and reception of scientific knowledge. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 658(1), 615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sullivan, D., Landau, M. J., & Rothschild, Z. K. (2010). An existential function of enemyship: Evidence that people attribute influence to personal and political enemies to compensate for threats to control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(3), 434449.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sunstein, C. R. (2009). On rumors: How falsehoods spread, why we believe them, what can be done. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
Sunstein, C. R. (2014). Conspiracy theories and other dangerous ideas. Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
Sunstein, C. R., & Vermeule, A. (2009). Conspiracy theories: Causes and cures. Journal of Political Philosophy, 17(2), 202227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sutton, R. M., & Douglas, K. (2014). Examining the monological nature of conspiracy theories. In van Prooijen, J.-W. & van Lange, P. A. M. (Eds.), Power, politics, and paranoia: Why people are suspicious of their leaders (pp. 254272). Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Swami, V. (2012). Social psychological origins of conspiracy theories: The case of the Jewish conspiracy theory in Malaysia. Frontiers in Psychology, 3(280).CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Swami, V., Barron, D., Weis, L., & Furnham, A. (2018). To Brexit or not to Brexit: The roles of Islamophobia, conspiracist beliefs, and integrated threat in voting intentions for the United Kingdom European Union Membership Referendum. British Journal of Psychology, 109(1), 156179.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Swami, V., Barron, D., Weis, L., Voracek, M., Stieger, S., & Furnham, A. (2017). An examination of the factorial and convergent validity of four measures of conspiracist ideation, with recommendations for researchers. PLoS ONE, 12(2), Article e0172617.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Swami, V., & Coles, R. (2010). The truth is out there: Belief in conspiracy theories. The Psychologist, 23(7), 560563.Google Scholar
Swami, V., Coles, R., Stieger, S., et al. (2011). Conspiracist ideation in Britain and Austria: Evidence of a monological belief system and associations between individual psychological differences and real-world and fictitious CTs. British Journal of Psychology, 102(3), 443463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Swami, V., Furnham, A., Smyth, N., Weis, L., Lay, A., & Clow, A. (2016). Putting the stress on CTs: Examining associations between psychological stress, anxiety, and belief in CTs. Personality and Individual Differences, 99, 7276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Swami, V., Voracek, M., Stieger, S., Tran, U. S., & Furnham, A. (2014). Analytic thinking reduces belief in conspiracy theories. Cognition, 133(3), 572585.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Swire, B., & Ecker, U. (2018). Misinformation and its correction: Cognitive mechanisms and recommendations for mass communication. In Southwell, B. G., Thorson, E. A., & Sheble, L. (Eds.), Misinformation and mass audiences (pp. 195211). University of Texas Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thomas, S. B., & Quinn, S. C. (1991). The Tuskegee syphilis study, 1932 to 1972: Implications for HIV education and AIDS risk education programs in the Black community. American Journal of Public Health, 81(11), 14981505.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Thorburn, S., & Bogart, L. M. (2005). Conspiracy beliefs about birth control: Barriers to pregnancy prevention among African Americans of reproductive age. Health Education and Behavior, 32(4), 474487.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Thorson, E. A. (2015). Belief echoes: The persistent effects of misinformation and corrections. Political Communication, 33(3), 121.Google Scholar
Thorson, E. A. (2018). Comparing approaches to journalistic fact checking. In Southwell, B. G., Thorson, E. A., & Sheble, L. (Eds.), Misinformation and mass audiences (pp. 249262). University of Texas Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Uscinski, J. E. (2019). Down the rabbit hole we go! In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 132). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Uscinski, J. E., Douglas, K. M., & Lewandowsky, S. (2017). Climate change conspiracy theories. Climate Science. Scholar
Uscinski, J. E., Enders, A. M., & Klofstad, C. M., et al. (2020). Why do people believe COVID- 19 conspiracy theories? The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review. Scholar
Uscinski, J. E., Klofstad, C., & Atkinson, M. D. (2016). What drives conspiratorial beliefs? The role of informational cues and predispositions. Political Research Quarterly, 69(1), 5771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Uscinski, J. E., & Parent, J. M. (2014). American conspiracy theories. Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Van Bavel, J. J., Baicker, K., Boggio, P. S., et al. (2020). Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response. Nature Human Behaviour, 4, 460471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van der Linden, S. (2013). What a hoax: Why people believe in conspiracy theories. Scientific American Mind, 24(4), 4143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van der Linden, S. (2015). The conspiracy-effect: Exposure to conspiracy theories (about global warming) decreases pro-social behavior and science acceptance. Personality and Individual Differences, 87, 171173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van der Linden, S., Panagopoulos, C., Azevedo, F., & Jost, J. T. (2021). The paranoid style in American politics revisited: An ideological asymmetry in conspiratorial thinking. Political Psychology, 42(1), 2351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van der Wal, R. C., Sutton, R. M., Lange, J., & Braga, J. P. N. (2018). Suspicious binds: Conspiracy thinking and tenuous perceptions of causal connections between co-occurring and spuriously correlated events. European Journal of Social Psychology, 48(7), 970989.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
van Prooijen, J.-W. (2017). Why education predicts decreased belief in conspiracy theories. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 31(1), 5058.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
van Prooijen, J.-W., & Acker, M. (2015). The influence of control on belief in conspiracy theories: Conceptual and applied extensions. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29(5), 753761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van Prooijen, J.-W., & Douglas, K. M. (2017). Conspiracy theories as part of history: The role of societal crisis situations. Memory Studies, 10(3), 323333.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
van Prooijen, J.-W., Douglas, K. M., & De Inocencio, C. (2018). Connecting the dots: Illusory pattern perception predicts belief in conspiracies and the supernatural. European Journal of Social Psychology, 48(3), 320335.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
van Prooijen, J.-W., Krouwel, A. P. M., & Pollet, T. V. (2015). Political extremism predicts belief in conspiracy theories. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6(5), 570578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van Prooijen, J.-W., & Song, M. (2020). The cultural dimension of intergroup conspiracy theories. British Journal of Psychology, 112(2), 455473.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
van Prooijen, J.-W., & van Vugt, M. (2018). Conspiracy theories: Evolved functions and psychological mechanisms. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 13(6), 770788.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Walker, J. (2019). What we mean when we say ‘conspiracy theory’. In Uscinski, J. E. (Ed.), Conspiracy theories and the people who believe them (pp. 5361). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Waters, A. M. (1997). Conspiracy theories as ethnosociologies: Explanation and intention in African American political culture. Journal of Black Studies, 28(1), 112125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weigmann, K. (2018). The genesis of a conspiracy theory: Why do people believe in scientific conspiracy theories and how do they spread? EMBO Reports, 19, Article e45935.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Whitson, J. A., & Galinsky, A. D. (2008). Lacking control increases illusory pattern perception. Science, 322(5898), 115117.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wood, M. J. (2016). Some dare call it conspiracy: Labelling something a conspiracy theory does not reduce belief in it. Political Psychology, 37(5), 695705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wood, M. J. (2017). Conspiracy suspicions as a proxy for beliefs in conspiracy theories: Implications for theory and measurement. British Journal of Psychology, 108(3), 507527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wood, M. J. (2018). Propagating and debunking conspiracy theories on Twitter during the 2015–2016 Zika virus outbreak. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 21(8), 485490.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wood, M. J., Douglas, K. M., & Sutton, R. M. (2012). Dead and alive: Beliefs in contradictory conspiracy theories. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3(6), 767773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wood, M. J., & Gray, D. (2019). Right-wing authoritarianism as a predictor of pro-establishment versus anti-establishment conspiracy theories. Personality and Individual Differences, 138(1), 163166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yablokov, I. (2018). Fortress Russia: Conspiracy theories in the post-Soviet world. Polity Press.Google Scholar
Zonis, M., & Joseph, C. M. (1994). Conspiracy thinking in the Middle East. Political Psychology, 15(3), 443445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar