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  • Cited by 4
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2021
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Book description

Conspiracy theories spread more widely and faster than ever before. Fear and uncertainty prompt people to believe false narratives of danger and hidden plots, but are not sufficient without considering the role and ideological bias of the media. This timely book focuses on making sense of how and why some people respond to their fear of a threat by creating or believing conspiracy stories. It integrates insights from psychology, political science, communication, and information sciences to provide a complete overview and theory of how conspiracy beliefs manifest. Through this multi-disciplinary perspective, rigoros research develops and tests a practical, simple way to frame and understand conspiracy theories. The book supplies unprecedented amounts of new data from six empirical studies and unpicks the complexity of the process that leads to the empowerment of conspiracy beliefs.


‘A deep social psychological analysis of why so many Americans subscribe to false conspiratorial beliefs is long overdue. Finally, it has arrived! In several landmark studies, Dolores Albarracín and her colleagues find that personal anxiety and exposure to conservative media, which exacerbates feelings of anxiety, drive paranoid thinking about matters of politics and public health. The question now is how to calm everyone down and re-establish some semblance of reality-based consensus in our society before it is too late.’

John T. Jost - New York University, USA

‘Creating Conspiracy Beliefs: How Our Thoughts are Shaped is a brilliant monograph reporting an extensive research program that probed the origins of conspiracy beliefs. The authors introduce a social psychological theory that grounds such beliefs in social influence and psychological motivations that are fueled by anxiety and repetitious communicative content. Evidence for the importance of these processes emerges from well-designed surveys, experiments, and analyses of social media data. The result is a wide-ranging analysis that illuminates the prevalence of conspiracy beliefs.’

Alice H. Eagly - Northwestern University, USA

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