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Conspiracy beliefs

Conspiracy beliefsProfessor Daniel Freeman, Supernumerary Fellow in Psychiatry, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, is researching conspiracy beliefs about the coronavirus. 2,501 adults took part in the Oxford Coronavirus Explanations, Attitudes, and Narratives Survey (OCEANS) in May.

The principal findings include: 60% of adults believe to some extent that the government is misleading the public about the cause of the virus,
40% believe to some extent the spread of the virus is a deliberate attempt by powerful people to gain control, 20% believe to some extent that the virus is a hoax. Altogether, approximately 50% of the people surveyed showed little evidence of conspiracy thinking, 25% showed a degree of endorsement, 15% showed a consistent pattern of endorsement, and 10% had very high levels of endorsement.

Professor Freeman commented, “Our study indicates that coronavirus conspiracy beliefs matter. Those who believe in conspiracy theories are less likely to follow government guidance, for example, staying home, not meeting with people outside their household, or staying 2m apart from other people when outside. Those who believe in conspiracy theories also say that they are less likely to accept a vaccination, take a diagnostic test, or wear a face mask.”

You can read the full article on the Cambridge University Press website.

Published: 3 September 2020

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