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Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them$
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Joseph E. Uscinski

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190844073

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190844073.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 September 2021

Empowerment as a Tool to Reduce Belief in Conspiracy Theories

Empowerment as a Tool to Reduce Belief in Conspiracy Theories

(p.432) 30 Empowerment as a Tool to Reduce Belief in Conspiracy Theories
Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them

Jan-Willem van Prooijen

Oxford University Press

Conspiracy theories can be harmful for public health, global warming, safety, conflict, and political polarization. What interventions help reduce the appeal of conspiracy theories? It is well-known that conspiracy theories flourish among citizens who feel powerless and out of control, however I argue that the opposite is also true: that feeling empowered and in control of one’s social environment reduces belief in conspiracy theories. Given this, authorities can reduce conspiracy beliefs among the public by installing procedural justice principles in decision-making processes. Procedural justice increases feelings of empowerment and trust, even among followers who disagree with the decision outcomes.

Keywords:   conspiracy theories, empowerment, procedural justice, control, negative emotions, rationality, interventions, decision-making

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