Conspiracy-Beliefs and Receptivity to Disconfirmatory Information: A Study Using the BADE Task

Neophytos Georgiou, Paul Delfabbro, Ryan Balzan

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Abstract

Conspiracy theory (CT) beliefs are thought to be related to a number of individual differences that make certain individuals more prone to this style of reasoning. In this study, we investigate (a) the relationship between CT beliefs and a standardized measure of judgment (the Bias Against Disconfirmatory Evidence task or BADE) and (b) the extent to which BADE scores are related to specific measures of psychopathology, including schizotypy and delusion-proneness, as measured by the Peters et al.’s Delusions Inventory. The BADE is an evidence integration bias and captures the extent to which individuals display a reduced willingness to integrate disconfirmatory evidence. A total of 358 individuals recruited from an online panel completed standardized measures of CT beliefs, measures of psychopathology, and a standardized BADE task. The results showed that CT-prone individuals showed a stronger BADE effect (i.e., biases against confirmatory and disconfirmatory evidence and a stronger liberal acceptance of absurd statements) and overall poorer evidence integration. Our results suggest that a reduced tendency to revise beliefs in the face of disconfirmatory evidence may contribute to the maintenance of CT beliefs, despite the availability of extensive counter-evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalSAGE Open
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • BADE
  • cognition
  • conspiracy theories
  • decision-making
  • disconfirmatory evidence

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