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A study published in Politics and the Life Sciences suggests that a conspiracy mentality is linked to increased support for conspiracy theories and higher endorsement of fake news claims.
The nonacceptance of well-supported science is a pervasive problem in today’s society. Support for pseudoscience is alarmingly common, and conspiracy theories and fake news claims are rampant on social media.
“The proliferation of deceptive claims on social media has done a lot to normalize conspiracy, and to some extent conspiratorial worldviews,” study authors Asheley R. Landrum and Alex Olshansky say. “We can try to dismiss conspiracy theorizing as something undertaken only by a foil-hat-wearing fringe, however when our friends and neighbors (and sometimes ourselves) begin to believe and share conspiracies on social media, we must acknowledge that conspiracy theorizing is much more widespread.”
Landrum and Olshansky wanted to explore factors that lead people towards a disbelief in science, by focusing on the role of conspiracy mentality.
A nearly nationally representative sample of 513 Americans was recruited to take part in an online survey. In order to capture data from individuals with heightened support for conspiracy theories, a separate sample of 21 adults recruited from a flat Earth convention was also included.
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