Latent profile analysis of schizotypy, autistic traits and conspiracy theory beliefs: Associations with cognitive flexibility and scientific reasoning performance

Neophytos Georgiou, Paul Delfabbro, Ryan Balzan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Schizotypal and autistic traits have both been implicated in the development of conspiracy theory (CT) beliefs. However, there are both similarities and differences between these traits that may increase an individual’s susceptibility to CT beliefs. Past research has often taken a variable-centred approach which assumes that the relationships among distinct variables (i.e. schizotypy, autistic traits) are homogenous. Given these circumstances, Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) was used to assess the extent to which within-individual variation in schizotypal, autistic traits and associated socio-cognitive tendencies are associated with CT beliefs, cognitive flexibility, and scientific reasoning performance. In a sample of 565 adults, five distinct classes were identified. Those with the lowest clinical scores (Class 1) had the highest scientific reasoning and lowest level of CT beliefs, whilst those with the highest clinical scores (Class 4 and 5), had the lowest scientific reasoning and highest CT belief scores. Further analysis revealed some evidence for mixed groups (e.g. Class 4) in which higher analytical reasoning scores co-occurred with higher CT beliefs, but lower scientific reasoning scores. The results did not provide evidence that higher autistic traits independently predicted CT beliefs, but the results support the view that scientific reasoning appears to better differentiate variation in CT beliefs across groups than differences in analytical reasoning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychopathology
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • analytical thinking
  • autistic traits
  • conspiracy beliefs
  • latent profile analysis
  • schizotypy
  • scientific reasoning

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