Conspiracy theories fuel prejudice towards minority groups

By Daniel Jolley and Karen Douglas

Some 60% of British people believe in at least one conspiracy theory, a recent poll reveals. From the idea that 9/11 was an inside job to the notion that climate change is a hoax, conspiracy theories divert attention away from the facts in favour of plots and schemes involving powerful and secret groups. With the aid of modern technology, conspiracy theories have found a natural home online.

Conspiracy theories often unfairly and erroneously accuse minority groups of doing bad things. For example, one conspiracy theory accuses Jewish people of plotting to run the world, including the outlandish idea that Jewish billionaire George Soros is a mastermind of a vast global conspiracy to “reduce humanity to slavery”. Another conspiracy theory proposes that global warming was created by the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive. Yet another conspiracy theory accuses immigrants of plotting to attack Britain from within.

In our research, we wanted to look at the impact of these types of conspiracy theories. How do they actually make people feel about minority groups? In our new paper, published in the British Journal of Psychology, we try to answer this question based on the results of three experiments.

Read the full piece on The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/conspiracy-theories-fuel-prejudice-towards-minority-groups-113508

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