Posted: 24 May 2013
Date Written: May 22, 2013
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.
Keywords: conspiracy theories, partisanship, ideology, predispositions
JEL Classification: D83
Suggested Citation: 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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2268782 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2268782