Belief in conspiracy theories makes people more likely to engage in low-level crime

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People who believe in conspiracy theories—such as the theory that Princess Diana was murdered by the British establishment—are more likely to accept or engage in everyday criminal activity.

That's the main finding from new research by psychologists at the universities of Kent and Staffordshire into the wider impact that beliefs can have on behaviour.

Professor Karen Douglas, of Kent's School of Psychology, was one of a team of four researchers to show that belief in , previously associated with prejudice, political disengagement and environmental inaction, also makes people more inclined to actively engage in .

In a first study, the findings indicated that people who believed in conspiracy theories were more accepting of everyday , such as trying to claim for replacement items, refunds or compensation from a shop when they were not entitled to do so.

In a second study, exposure to conspiracy theories made people more likely to intend to engage in everyday crime in the future. The researchers found that this tendency was directly linked to an individual's feeling of a lack of social cohesion or shared values, known as 'anomie'.

Professor Douglas said: 'Our research has shown for the first time the role that conspiracy theories can play in determining an individual's attitude to everyday crime. It demonstrates that people subscribing to the view that others have conspired might be more inclined toward unethical actions.'

Dr. Dan Jolley, of Staffordshire University, said: 'People believing in conspiracy theories are more likely to be accepting of everyday crime, while exposure to theories increases a feeling of anomie, which in turn predicts increased future everyday crime intentions.'

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More information: Daniel Jolley et al. Belief in conspiracy theories and intentions to engage in everyday crime, British Journal of Social Psychology (2019). DOI: 10.1111/bjso.12311
Provided by University of Kent
Citation: Belief in conspiracy theories makes people more likely to engage in low-level crime (2019, February 25) retrieved 22 August 2019 from
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Feb 25, 2019
This story is just ORK propaganda created by not quite Lord Monkton as part of his plan to convert all human flesh to gold through the Krylon Fusion process.

Lies.. Lies.. The story is all lies....


Feb 25, 2019
I guess Jussie Smollett believes in conspiracy theories. In addition to that, he is likely to be hired by CNN so the claim by the study that more crime will follow is accurate.

Feb 26, 2019
@V4 & @CD, may I refer both of you to Poe's Law ?

Feb 26, 2019
"actively engage in antisocial behaviour."

-Antisocial, as in against the prevailing tribal law. People who perceive themselves as outside the prevailing tribe (see scott nudds/vendicar above) will assume that that tribe is conspiring against them, because in truth that is what tribes do. Outcasts and renegades will begin constructing scenarios as to how this might be happening, and how it explains their estrangement.

"Among the living tribal peoples, [Darwin] added, "the virtues are practised almost exclusively in relation to the men of the same tribe" and the corresponding vices "are not regarded as crimes" if practised on other tribes (Darwin, 1871)

-Robin Hood had the same suspicions and with cause. Egomaniacs like scott will assume that great forces equal to his own bloated self-image must be arrayed against him.

Tribalism is speciation. No two species can peacefully occupy the same niche, even if as in Scott's case the species is composed of a single individual.

Feb 26, 2019
@V4 & @CD, may I refer both of you to Poe's Law ?

You may want to refer him to a psychiatrist if you know a good one. He's hysterically posting about Jussie Smollett on every Physorg article he reads. It seems to be a really unhealthy obsession.

Feb 26, 2019
[It seems to be a really unhealthy obsession.

Well, duh, I haven't seen anything else than obsessive conspiracy theories posted under that handle.

And who is Jussie Smollet!? Seems *we* should be remembering a putative criminal from last week's news cycle - I had to google him up! Who cares - and with a conspiracy theory news association to boot? Give the average "us" a break, crackpots/"conspirationists" ...

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