Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Study Examines The Influence And Impact Of Conspiracy Theories Surrounding The Death Of Princess Diana

Date:
January 16, 2007
Source:
University Of Kent
Summary:
In their forthcoming paper The hidden impact of conspiracy theories: Perceived and actual influence of theories surrounding the death of Princess Diana, Dr Karen Douglas and Dr Robbie Sutton from the University of Kent show that people are persuaded by conspiracy theories about Princess Diana's death even though they do not necessarily know it.

In their forthcoming paper The hidden impact of conspiracy theories: Perceived and actual influence of theories surrounding the death of Princess Diana, Dr Karen Douglas and Dr Robbie Sutton from the University of Kent show that people are persuaded by conspiracy theories about Princess Diana's death even though they do not necessarily know it.

In their study, which is to be published in the Journal of Social Psychology, the authors find that while people accurately judge the extent to which others are influenced by conspiracy theories, they are unaware of the extent to which their own attitudes have changed -- a change that may actually serve to perpetuate the theories.

After reading internet-based conspiracy theories about the death of Princess Diana, research participants agreed more strongly with statements such as 'there was an official campaign by MI6 to assassinate Diana, sanctioned by elements of the establishment'. When asked how much they would have agreed with those statements prior to reading the conspiracy theories, they 'revised' their prior attitudes so that they were closer to their current attitudes -- this made it appear as though their attitudes had changed less than they actually had.

Dr Douglas said: 'Our research provides a first psychological examination of the impact of conspiracy theories. It also provides a potential explanation for an interesting paradox. Why do conspiracy theories endure when there is no factual support for them, and even when they fly in the face of established facts? Our findings suggest that conspiracy theories may actually have a 'hidden impact', meaning that they powerfully influence people's attitudes whilst people do not know it; outwardly they may deny the extent to which they have been influenced but in truth they tend to endorse the new information and pass it on to others.'

These findings echo previous work by the authors which shows that people are also persuaded by pro-gun, pro-fossil fuel and anti-fossil fuel arguments but without the awareness that their attitudes have changed.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Kent. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Kent. "New Study Examines The Influence And Impact Of Conspiracy Theories Surrounding The Death Of Princess Diana." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070116093354.htm>.
University Of Kent. (2007, January 16). New Study Examines The Influence And Impact Of Conspiracy Theories Surrounding The Death Of Princess Diana. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070116093354.htm
University Of Kent. "New Study Examines The Influence And Impact Of Conspiracy Theories Surrounding The Death Of Princess Diana." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070116093354.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins