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New research reveals conspiring conspiracy theorists
Conspiracy theories – such as those surrounding the death of Princess Diana – are more likely to be believed by people who are willing themselves to conspire, new research at the University of Kent has shown.
In a paper to be published in the British Journal of Social Psychology, Dr Karen Douglas and Dr Robbie Sutton, two researchers from the School of Psychology, found that – in keeping with the psychological process called projection – an individual’s perception that “I would do it” informs his or her perception that “they did it”…
The more that participants indicated a willingness to conspire, the more they found the same conspiracy theories to be plausible, interesting, and worth considering…Further, the researchers found that participants who were highly Machiavellian – defined as willing to exploit others for personal gain – were more likely to indicate willingness to conspire, and as a result, were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories…
‘We found that in their search for explanations under such uncertain and confusing conditions, people rely partly on projection – the assumption that others would behave much as they would.