Appearing in the journal Economic and Political Studies, a group of experts at the University of Innsbruck determined that just being confronted by conspiratorial beliefs may affect one’s behavior.
The study examined the effects of exposure to conspiracy theories among those who don’t believe in them.
144 participants were chosen as part of the study that showed a short clip of the 1969 moon landing conspiracy.
Through a series of experiments, the study was able to demonstrate how exposure to conspiracy theories impacted behavior even when the theories in question were not believed.
“Our paper investigates the effect of exposure to conspiracy theories on strategic sophistication,” wrote Loukas Balafoutas and his colleagues in the findings.
“We present evidence from a laboratory experiment, in which we prime half of our participants with exposure to a conspiracy theory. We find that such exposure leads to increased strategic sophistication. Using a causal mediation analysis we confirm that the effect on sophistication arises independently of whether people believe in the content or not.”