Exposure to intergroup conspiracy theories promotes prejudice which spreads across groups

Daniel Jolley, Rose Meleady, Karen M Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This research experimentally examined the effects of exposure to intergroup conspiracy theories on prejudice and discrimination. Study 1 (N = 166) demonstrated that exposure to conspiracy theories concerning immigrants to Britain from the European Union (vs. anti-conspiracy material or a control) exacerbated prejudice towards this group. Study 2 (N = 173) found the same effect in a different intergroup context - exposure to conspiracy theories about Jewish people (vs. anti-conspiracy material or a control) increased prejudice towards this group and reduced participants' willingness to vote for a Jewish political candidate. Finally, Study 3 (N = 114) demonstrated that exposure to conspiracy theories about Jewish people not only increased prejudice towards this group but was indirectly associated with increased prejudice towards a number of secondary outgroups (e.g., Asians, Arabs, Americans, Irish, Australians). The current research suggests that conspiracy theories may have potentially damaging and widespread consequences for intergroup relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-35
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Volume111
Issue number1
Early online date13 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

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