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Front Psychol. 2015 Feb 25;6:206. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00206. eCollection 2015.

Conspiracy theory and cognitive style: a worldview.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester UK.

Abstract

This paper assessed whether belief in conspiracy theories was associated with a particularly cognitive style (worldview). The sample comprised 223 volunteers recruited via convenience sampling and included undergraduates, postgraduates, university employees, and alumni. Respondents completed measures assessing a range of cognitive-perceptual factors (schizotypy, delusional ideation, and hallucination proneness) and conspiratorial beliefs (general attitudes toward conspiracist thinking and endorsement of individual conspiracies). Positive symptoms of schizotypy, particularly the cognitive-perceptual factor, correlated positively with conspiracist beliefs. The best predictor of belief in conspiracies was delusional ideation. Consistent with the notion of a coherent conspiratorial mindset, scores across conspiracy measures correlated strongly. Whilst findings supported the view that belief in conspiracies, within the sub-clinical population, was associated with a delusional thinking style, cognitive-perceptual factors in combination accounted for only 32% of the variance.

KEYWORDS:

cognitive style; conspiracist belief; delusional ideation; schizotypy; worldview

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