Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2268782
 
 

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Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories? The Role of Informational Cues and Predispositions


Joseph E. Uscinski


University of Miami

Matthew Atkinson


University of Miami

May 22, 2013


Abstract:     
Conspiratorial beliefs are currently salient in both the media and among scholarly researchers. Why do people believe in conspiracy theories? This note addresses three major explanations of conspiratorial belief: informational cues, political ideology, and predispositions toward conspiratorial views. Using a national survey experiment, we test the effect of an informational cue on belief in a conspiracy theory impugning the media while accounting for partisanship and conspiratorial predispositions. Our results suggest the conditions under which conspiratorial beliefs can flourish, and provide an explanation for individual heterogeneity in the holding of conspiratorial beliefs.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: conspiracy theories, partisanship, ideology, predispositions

JEL Classification: D83

working papers series


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Date posted: May 24, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Uscinski, Joseph E. and Atkinson, Matthew, Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories? The Role of Informational Cues and Predispositions (May 22, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2268782 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2268782

Contact Information

Joseph E. Uscinski (Contact Author)
University of Miami ( email )
Coral Gables, FL 33124
United States
Matthew Atkinson
University of Miami ( email )
Coral Gables, FL 33124
United States
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