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Analytic thinking reduces belief in conspiracy theories.
Cognition 2014; 133(3):572-85C

Abstract

Belief in conspiracy theories has been associated with a range of negative health, civic, and social outcomes, requiring reliable methods of reducing such belief. Thinking dispositions have been highlighted as one possible factor associated with belief in conspiracy theories, but actual relationships have only been infrequently studied. In Study 1, we examined associations between belief in conspiracy theories and a range of measures of thinking dispositions in a British sample (N=990). Results indicated that a stronger belief in conspiracy theories was significantly associated with lower analytic thinking and open-mindedness and greater intuitive thinking. In Studies 2-4, we examined the causational role played by analytic thinking in relation to conspiracist ideation. In Study 2 (N=112), we showed that a verbal fluency task that elicited analytic thinking reduced belief in conspiracy theories. In Study 3 (N=189), we found that an alternative method of eliciting analytic thinking, which related to cognitive disfluency, was effective at reducing conspiracist ideation in a student sample. In Study 4, we replicated the results of Study 3 among a general population sample (N=140) in relation to generic conspiracist ideation and belief in conspiracy theories about the July 7, 2005, bombings in London. Our results highlight the potential utility of supporting attempts to promote analytic thinking as a means of countering the widespread acceptance of conspiracy theories.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Westminster, London, UK. Electronic address: v.swami@westminster.ac.uk.Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, School of Psychology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, School of Psychology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Research Methods, Assessment, and iScience, Department of Psychology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany.Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, School of Psychology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.Department of Clinical, Educational, and Health Psychology, Division of Psychology and Language Science, University College London, London, UK.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial

Language

eng

PubMed ID

25217762

Citation

Swami, Viren, et al. "Analytic Thinking Reduces Belief in Conspiracy Theories." Cognition, vol. 133, no. 3, 2014, pp. 572-85.
Swami V, Voracek M, Stieger S, et al. Analytic thinking reduces belief in conspiracy theories. Cognition. 2014;133(3):572-85.
Swami, V., Voracek, M., Stieger, S., Tran, U. S., & Furnham, A. (2014). Analytic thinking reduces belief in conspiracy theories. Cognition, 133(3), pp. 572-85. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.08.006.
Swami V, et al. Analytic Thinking Reduces Belief in Conspiracy Theories. Cognition. 2014;133(3):572-85. PubMed PMID: 25217762.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Analytic thinking reduces belief in conspiracy theories. AU - Swami,Viren, AU - Voracek,Martin, AU - Stieger,Stefan, AU - Tran,Ulrich S, AU - Furnham,Adrian, Y1 - 2014/09/18/ PY - 2014/05/08/received PY - 2014/08/07/revised PY - 2014/08/08/accepted PY - 2014/9/14/entrez PY - 2014/9/14/pubmed PY - 2015/10/8/medline KW - Analytic thinking KW - Conspiracy theories KW - Experiential thinking KW - Open-mindedness KW - Thinking dispositions SP - 572 EP - 85 JF - Cognition JO - Cognition VL - 133 IS - 3 N2 - Belief in conspiracy theories has been associated with a range of negative health, civic, and social outcomes, requiring reliable methods of reducing such belief. Thinking dispositions have been highlighted as one possible factor associated with belief in conspiracy theories, but actual relationships have only been infrequently studied. In Study 1, we examined associations between belief in conspiracy theories and a range of measures of thinking dispositions in a British sample (N=990). Results indicated that a stronger belief in conspiracy theories was significantly associated with lower analytic thinking and open-mindedness and greater intuitive thinking. In Studies 2-4, we examined the causational role played by analytic thinking in relation to conspiracist ideation. In Study 2 (N=112), we showed that a verbal fluency task that elicited analytic thinking reduced belief in conspiracy theories. In Study 3 (N=189), we found that an alternative method of eliciting analytic thinking, which related to cognitive disfluency, was effective at reducing conspiracist ideation in a student sample. In Study 4, we replicated the results of Study 3 among a general population sample (N=140) in relation to generic conspiracist ideation and belief in conspiracy theories about the July 7, 2005, bombings in London. Our results highlight the potential utility of supporting attempts to promote analytic thinking as a means of countering the widespread acceptance of conspiracy theories. SN - 1873-7838 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/25217762/Analytic_thinking_reduces_belief_in_conspiracy_theories_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0010-0277(14)00163-2 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -