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The Association of Political Orientation With General and Partisan Conspiracy Beliefs as a Function of Corruption Levels (2022)

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Recent research has showed that people with right-wing political orientations and political extremists are more likely to harbor conspiracy beliefs. Utilizing a multisite data set (23 countries, N > 20,000), we show that corruption moderates how political orientation predicts conspiracy beliefs. We found that (1) the difference between left- and right-wingers in terms of adopting a conspiracy mind-set is attenuated in countries with high corruption; and (2) left-wingers are more likely to believe left-wing conspiracy theories, and right-wingers are more likely to believe right-wing conspiracy theories in high corruption countries. Including quadratic effects of political orientation yielded the same results. We argue that this is because corruption increases perceived plausibility of conspiracies, and everyone across the political spectrum becomes similarly likely to adopt a conspiracy mentality. This heightened suspicion, however, is reflected on partisan conspiracy theories differently for left- and right-wingers, depending on their different understandings of outgroup.


Very interesting, thanks!