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Better the devil you know than a world you don't? Intolerance of uncertainty and worldview explanations for belief in conspiracy theories

Moulding, Richard, Nix-Carnell, Simon, Schnabel, Alexandra, Nedeljkovic, Maja, Burnside, Emma E., Lentini, Aaron F. and Mehzabin, Nazia 2016, Better the devil you know than a world you don't? Intolerance of uncertainty and worldview explanations for belief in conspiracy theories, Personality and individual differences, vol. 98, pp. 345-354, doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2016.04.060.

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Title Better the devil you know than a world you don't? Intolerance of uncertainty and worldview explanations for belief in conspiracy theories
Author(s) Moulding, RichardORCID iD for Moulding, Richard orcid.org/0000-0001-7779-3166
Nix-Carnell, Simon
Schnabel, Alexandra
Nedeljkovic, Maja
Burnside, Emma E.
Lentini, Aaron F.
Mehzabin, Nazia
Journal name Personality and individual differences
Volume number 98
Start page 345
End page 354
Total pages 10
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2016-08
ISSN 0191-8869
Keyword(s) Conspiracist belief
Heuristics
Alientation
Uncertainty
Worldview
Agency
Summary Conspiracy Theory (CT) endorsers believe in an omnipresent, malevolent, and highly coordinated group that wields secret influence for personal gain, and credit this group with the responsibility for many noteworthy events. Two explanations for the emergence of CTs are that they result from social marginalisation and a lack of agency, or that they are due to a need-to-explain-the-unexplained. Furthermore, representativeness heuristics may form reasoning biases that make such beliefs more likely. Two related studies (N = 107; N = 120) examined the relationships between these social marginalisation, intolerance of uncertainty, heuristics and CT belief using a correlational design. Overall, intolerance of uncertainty did not link strongly to CT belief, but worldview variables did - particularly a sense of the world as (socially) threatening, non-random, and with no fixed morality. The use of both representative heuristics that were examined was heightened in those participants more likely to endorse CTs. These factors seem to contribute to the likelihood of whether the individual will endorse CTs generally, relating similarly to common CTs, CTs generally historically accepted as "true", and to the endorsement of fictional CTs that the individual would find novel. Implications are discussed.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.paid.2016.04.060
Field of Research 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified
1701 Psychology
1702 Cognitive Science
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Elsevier
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30084755

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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