chapter  6
Are the high authoritarians more prone to adopt conspiracy theories? The role of right-wing authoritarianism in conspiratorial thinking
ByMonika Grzesiak-Feldman
Pages 23

Although there have always been conspiracy theories, it seems that nowadays – in the time of the continuous development of the Internet (Coady, 2006) – there are more conspiracy theories than ever, and they are on the rise (Leman, 2007; Parish, 2001). On the other hand, despite playing an important role in society (Leman, 2007) and despite being ubiquitous, conspiracy theories “had been left, almost completely, to the mercy of disciplines such as history and the other social sciences” (Byford, 2014, p. 84). Although significant advances in understanding the psychological roots of conspiracy theorizing have been made in the last few years, the body of work is still underrepresented compared to other disciplines of psychology, such as that of stereotypes and prejudices. That is probably the reason why psychologists studying conspiracy theories often begin their papers expressing surprise that so little research has been attempted to understand the psychological processes that underlie conspiracy thinking (e.g., Douglas & Sutton, 2011; Jolley & Douglas, 2014; Leman & Cinnirella, 2013), and to explore the psychological variables that lead to conspiratorial thoughts (Leman & Cinnirella, 2013; Swami & Coles, 2010; Swami, Chamorro-Premuzic, & Furnham, 2010). In this chapter, we will focus on the latter case, particularly on associations between right-wing authoritarianism and two distinct categories of conspiracy beliefs: about events and about groups (conspiracy stereotypes).