Examining conspiracist beliefs about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.J Gen Psychol 2012 Oct-Dec; 139(4):244-59JG
Previous studies have suggested that conspiracist ideation forms part of a monological belief system in which one conspiracist idea acts as evidence for new conspiracist ideas. Here, we examined this possibility in relation to an event lacking reliable or conclusive evidence, namely the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. A total of 914 members of the British general public completed scales measuring their beliefs about the disappearance of Earhart and Noonan, belief in conspiracy theories, the Big Five personality factors, support for democratic principles, political cynicism, self-esteem, and self-assessed intelligence. Results showed that belief in conspiracy theories was associated with the endorsement of less plausible explanations for the disappearance of Earhart and Noonan. In addition, belief in less plausible explanations was also significantly associated with lower self-assessed intelligence, greater political cynicism, lower self-esteem, and higher Agreeableness scores. These results are discussed in relation to monological belief systems.