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A conspiracy theory refers to an alternative explanation of an event involving a conspirator plot organised by powerful people or organisations. Belief in conspiracy theories is related to negative societal outcomes such as poor medical decisions and a decrease in prosocial behaviour. Given these negative outcomes, researchers have explored predictors of belief in conspiracy theories in an attempt to understand and possibly manage these beliefs. In the current study, we explored the utility of personality in predicting belief in conspiracy theories. The aim of the current study was to explore the utility of the odd beliefs/magical thinking subtype of schizotypy, Machiavellianism, grandiose narcissism, vulnerable narcissism, primary psychopathy, and secondary psychopathy in predicting belief in conspiracy theories. Participants (N = 230; 44.7% male, 55.3% female) completed an anonymous, confidential online questionnaire which comprised demographics and measures of personality traits and belief in conspiracy theories. The total regression model indicated odd beliefs/magical thinking, trait Machiavellianism, and primary psychopathy were significant, positive predictors of belief in conspiracy theories. No other predictors reached significance. Results of the current study highlight individuals who might be more susceptible to believing conspiracy theories. Specifically, these results indicate that the individual more likely to believe in conspiracy theories may have unusual patterns of thinking and cognitions, be strategic and manipulative, and display interpersonal and affective deficits.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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In screening and diagnostic tests, the probability that a person with a positive test is a true positive (i.e., has the disease), is referred to as the predictive value of a positive test; whereas, the predictive value of a negative test is the probability that the person with a negative test does not have the disease. Predictive value is related to the sensitivity and specificity of the test.
A personality dimension characterized by the manipulation of others.
Critical and exhaustive investigation or experimentation, having for its aim the discovery of new facts and their correct interpretation, the revision of accepted conclusions, theories, or laws in the light of newly discovered facts, or the practical application of such new or revised conclusions, theories, or laws. (Webster, 3d ed)
A delusional disorder of belief in infestation by insects or other parasites. This FORMICATION is typically accompanied by dermatological manifestation such as PRURITUS that may lead to self-mutilation in order to remove the perceived parasites. It can be either primary or secondary to a somatic or psychiatric condition.
Belief in a positive outcome.