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"What about building 7?" A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories.
Front Psychol 2013; 4:409FP

Abstract

Recent research into the psychology of conspiracy belief has highlighted the importance of belief systems in the acceptance or rejection of conspiracy theories. We examined a large sample of conspiracist (pro-conspiracy-theory) and conventionalist (anti-conspiracy-theory) comments on news websites in order to investigate the relative importance of promoting alternative explanations vs. rejecting conventional explanations for events. In accordance with our hypotheses, we found that conspiracist commenters were more likely to argue against the opposing interpretation and less likely to argue in favor of their own interpretation, while the opposite was true of conventionalist commenters. However, conspiracist comments were more likely to explicitly put forward an account than conventionalist comments were. In addition, conspiracists were more likely to express mistrust and made more positive and fewer negative references to other conspiracy theories. The data also indicate that conspiracists were largely unwilling to apply the "conspiracy theory" label to their own beliefs and objected when others did so, lending support to the long-held suggestion that conspiracy belief carries a social stigma. Finally, conventionalist arguments tended to have a more hostile tone. These tendencies in persuasive communication can be understood as a reflection of an underlying conspiracist worldview in which the details of individual conspiracy theories are less important than a generalized rejection of official explanations.

Authors+Show Affiliations

School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Kent Canterbury, UK.No affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

23847577

Citation

Wood, Michael J., and Karen M. Douglas. ""What About Building 7?" a Social Psychological Study of Online Discussion of 9/11 Conspiracy Theories." Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 4, 2013, p. 409.
Wood MJ, Douglas KM. "What about building 7?" A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories. Front Psychol. 2013;4:409.
Wood, M. J., & Douglas, K. M. (2013). "What about building 7?" A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, p. 409. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00409.
Wood MJ, Douglas KM. "What About Building 7?" a Social Psychological Study of Online Discussion of 9/11 Conspiracy Theories. Front Psychol. 2013;4:409. PubMed PMID: 23847577.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - "What about building 7?" A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories. AU - Wood,Michael J, AU - Douglas,Karen M, Y1 - 2013/07/08/ PY - 2013/03/01/received PY - 2013/06/18/accepted PY - 2013/7/13/entrez PY - 2013/7/13/pubmed PY - 2013/7/13/medline KW - archival research KW - conspiracy theories KW - online discussion KW - persuasion KW - social influence SP - 409 EP - 409 JF - Frontiers in psychology JO - Front Psychol VL - 4 N2 - Recent research into the psychology of conspiracy belief has highlighted the importance of belief systems in the acceptance or rejection of conspiracy theories. We examined a large sample of conspiracist (pro-conspiracy-theory) and conventionalist (anti-conspiracy-theory) comments on news websites in order to investigate the relative importance of promoting alternative explanations vs. rejecting conventional explanations for events. In accordance with our hypotheses, we found that conspiracist commenters were more likely to argue against the opposing interpretation and less likely to argue in favor of their own interpretation, while the opposite was true of conventionalist commenters. However, conspiracist comments were more likely to explicitly put forward an account than conventionalist comments were. In addition, conspiracists were more likely to express mistrust and made more positive and fewer negative references to other conspiracy theories. The data also indicate that conspiracists were largely unwilling to apply the "conspiracy theory" label to their own beliefs and objected when others did so, lending support to the long-held suggestion that conspiracy belief carries a social stigma. Finally, conventionalist arguments tended to have a more hostile tone. These tendencies in persuasive communication can be understood as a reflection of an underlying conspiracist worldview in which the details of individual conspiracy theories are less important than a generalized rejection of official explanations. SN - 1664-1078 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/23847577/"What_about_building_7"_A_social_psychological_study_of_online_discussion_of_9/11_conspiracy_theories_ L2 - https://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00409 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -