Belief in conspiracy theories. The role of paranormal belief, paranoid ideation and schizotypy

Hannah Darwin, Nick Neave, Joni Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

256 Citations (Scopus)


Surveys indicate that belief in conspiracy theories is widespread. Previous studies have indicated that such beliefs are related to agreeableness, low levels of self esteem, certain negative attitudes towards authority, and paranoia. The current study investigated the relationship between conspiracy theory beliefs, paranormal belief, paranoid ideation, and schizotypy, in a study involving 60 females and 60 males aged 18–50. Sex differences were found in paranormal belief, with females scoring significantly higher than males in spiritualism, precognition, psi, and overall paranormal belief. Partial correlations controlling for sex showed that conspiracy beliefs were significantly and positively correlated with paranormal beliefs, paranoid ideation and schizotypy. Confirmatory analysis revealed a best fit model to explain conspiracy beliefs that included schizotypy and paranoid ideation, but not paranormal beliefs. These findings suggest that paranoid ideation and schizotypy are strongly associated with belief in conspiracy theories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1289-1293
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011

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