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Conspiracy theories fuel prejudice towards minority groups

15 March 2019

Exposure to conspiracy theories can intensify prejudice towards minority groups.

That is the conclusion of research highlighted in the British Journal of Psychology, published by the BPS and Wiley-Blackwell.

In the paper, three researchers look at the effect of the theories on relationships between different groups in society.

They find people exposed to conspiracy theories about a particular group aren’t just more prejudiced against that group afterwards, they are more prejudiced against all minority groups.

Lead author Dr Daniel Jolley from Staffordshire University, a chartered member of the BPS, said:

“Our research suggests conspiracy theories can have a widespread negative impact on intergroup relations, though further research is needed to measure how persistent it is. Efforts to reduce prejudice should look at their role.”

The other authors are BPS member Professor Karen Douglas (University of Kent) and Dr Rose Meleady (University of East Anglia).

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