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A narrative analysis into the psychological epistemology of conspiracy theorists.

Nairn, Jennifer (2017) A narrative analysis into the psychological epistemology of conspiracy theorists. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Past psychological research regarding conspiracy theory endorsement has been conducted quantitatively. Therefore, psychologists have been unable to establish the personal views and opinions concerning individuals who believe conspiracy theories. Consequently, the current investigation was predominantly qualitative in nature. The aim of this study is to present a clear insight into the epistemology of individuals who believe in conspiracy theories. This aim was achieved by recruiting 22 participants to fill out a Likert Scale questionnaire, which asked about the individual’s general conspiratorial thinking. A score was gathered from each participant and if the individual gained over 50% on the questionnaire they were invited to take part in a semi-structured interview. 10 semi-structured interviews were conducted with both students and the general public. Through employing thematic analysis, four themes were identified; Definitions, Negative Connotations, Questioning and Endorsement Reason. The current study identified aspects of conspiracy theory endorsement which both agreed and disagreed with past research. Further research should take a qualitative standpoint when conducting explorations as new information and perspectives are gained, creating new information and knowledge regarding this topic area.

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