Adam-Troian, J, Chayinska, M, Paladino, MP, Uluğ, ÖM, Vaes, J and Wagner-Egger, P (2022) Of precarity and conspiracy: Introducing a socio-functional model of conspiracy beliefs. British Journal of Social Psychology. ISSN 0144-6665

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Abstract

Conspiracy Beliefs (CB) are a key vector of violent extremism, radicalism and unconventional political events. So far, social-psychological research has extensively documented how cognitive, emotional and intergroup factors can promote CB. Evidence also suggests that adherence to CB moves along social class lines: low-income and low-education are among the most robust predictors of CB. Yet, the potential role of precarity-the subjective experience of permanent insecurity stemming from objective material strain-in shaping CB remains largely unexplored. In this paper, we propose for the first time a socio-functional model of CB. We test the hypothesis that precarity could foster increased CB because it undermines trust in government and the broader political 'elites'. Data from the World Value Survey (n = 21,650; Study 1, electoral CB) and from representative samples from polls conducted in France (n = 1760, Study 2a, conspiracy mentality) and Italy (n = 2196, Study 2b, COVID-19 CB), corroborate a mediation model whereby precarity is directly and indirectly associated with lower trust in authorities and higher CB. In addition, these links are robust to adjustment on income, self-reported SES and education. Considering precarity allows for a truly social-psychological understanding of CB as the by-product of structural issues (e.g. growing inequalities). Results from our socio-functional model suggest that implementing solutions at the socio-economic level could prove efficient in fighting CB.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.© 2022 The Authors. British Journal of Social Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BD Speculative Philosophy
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2022 13:22
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 13:22
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/11742

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