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Does self-love or self-hate predict conspiracy beliefs? Narcissism, self-esteem and the endorsement of conspiracy theories

Cichocka, Aleksandra; Marchlewska, Marta and Golec de Zavala, Agnieszka. 2016. Does self-love or self-hate predict conspiracy beliefs? Narcissism, self-esteem and the endorsement of conspiracy theories. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(2), pp. 157-166. ISSN 1948-5506 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Across three studies, we examined the role of self-evaluation in predicting conspiracy beliefs. Previous research linked the endorsement of conspiracy theories to low self-esteem. We propose that conspiracy theories should rather be appealing to individuals with exaggerated feelings of self-love, such as narcissists, due to their paranoid tendencies. In Study 1, general conspiracist beliefs were predicted by high individual narcissism but low self-esteem. Study 2 demonstrated that these effects were differentially mediated by paranoid thoughts, and independent of the effects of collective narcissism. Individual narcissism predicted generalized conspiracist beliefs, regardless of the conspiracy theories implicating in-group or out-group members, while collective narcissism predicted belief in out-group but not in-group conspiracies. Study 3 replicated the effects of individual narcissism and self-esteem on the endorsement of various specific conspiracy theories and demonstrated that the negative effect of self-esteem was largely accounted for by the general negativity toward humans associated with low self-esteem.

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550615616170

Keywords:

conspiracy theories, self-esteem, narcissism, collective narcissism, paranoia

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology

Dates:

DateEvent
1 March 2016Published
13 November 2015Published Online
15 October 2015Accepted

Item ID:

19606

Date Deposited:

27 Jan 2017 17:25

Last Modified:

09 Jul 2018 18:43

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/19606

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