Psychopaths and sadists tend to believe in conspiracy theories, study says

Machiavellian, narcissistic, psychopathic or sadistic people are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. At least, that’s what a study by the University of Oregon (USA) points out.

The researcher responsible for the study — Cameron Kay, from the psychology department — lumped these people into a single group, called the Dark Tetrad (Something like “dark quartet”, in free translation). The traits of members of this group involve manipulation, cynicism, vanity, self-obsession, impulsiveness, insensitivity, cruelty and even abuse.

“In simple terms, it seems that nasty people, who score high on these traits, are more likely to believe conspiracy theories. They are prone to strange beliefs, they don’t feel they are in control of their lives. They have an innate distrust of other people and organizations, such as the government,” writes the researcher.

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(Image: Quasi Misha/Unsplash)

To conduct his study, Kay recruited 500 college students to complete a survey on the traits in question and belief in conspiracy theories. The survey also measured tendencies to hold unusual beliefs, to feel a lack of control over one’s future, to desire control, to trust others, and to feel the need to be unique.

By analyzing the results, Kay was able to relate these groups to conspiracy beliefs. “Most people think conspiracy theorists are crazy. I felt there was more going on. Some people wanted to socially connect with others A small subset wanted to take advantage of others. I wanted to see what is behind these beliefs and theories,” he explains.

The long-term goal is to find ways to reduce conspiracy ideation among people with these personality traits, according to the author himself. The full study can be accessed here.

Source: Science Blog

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