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Traumatic rift: how conspiracy beliefs undermine cohesion after societal trauma?

Traumatic rift: how conspiracy beliefs undermine cohesion after societal trauma?

Bilewicz, Michal, Witkowska, Marta, Pantazi, Myrto, Gkinopoulos, Theofilos and Klein, Olivier (2019) Traumatic rift: how conspiracy beliefs undermine cohesion after societal trauma? Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 15 (1). pp. 82-93. ISSN 1841-0413 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.5964/ejop.v15i1.1699)

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Abstract

Collective traumas may often lead to deep societal divides and internal conflicts. In this article, we propose that conspiracy theories emerging in response to victimizing events may play a key role in the breakdown of social cohesion. We performed a nationally representative survey in Poland (N = 965) two years after the Smoleńsk airplane crash in which the Polish president was killed, together with 95 political officials and high-ranking military officers. The survey found that people endorsing conspiratorial accounts of the Smoleńsk catastrophe preferred to distance themselves from conspiracy non-believers, while skeptics preferred greater distance to conspiracy believers. We also examined the role of people’s belief in the uniqueness of in-group historical suffering as an important antecedent of both conspiracy thinking and hostility towards outgroups (conspiracy believers and non-believers).

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: victimhood, collective trauma, conspiracy beliefs, social distance, Smoleńsk
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development > Centre for Inequalities
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 12:05
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: REF 3
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/28074

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