Conspiracy theories can have an effect on folks’s beliefs and behaviours in important methods. For instance, they’ll affect selections on essential points comparable to local weather change and vaccination. Regardless of their significance, nonetheless, all the current analysis on conspiracy theories has been carried out with adults, and questionnaires to measure conspiracy beliefs have been designed solely with adults in thoughts. Subsequently, we don’t presently know when and why conspiracy beliefs develop in younger folks, and the way they alter over time. This well timed mission – funded by the British Academy – has developed and validated a conspiracy beliefs questionnaire appropriate for younger folks, known as the Adolescent Conspiracy Beliefs Questionnaire (ACBQ).
We examined the ACBQ on a spread of younger folks within the UK, permitting us to finalise 9 questions that measure younger folks’s perception in conspiracy theories. The ACBQ consists of questions comparable to “secret societies affect many political selections” and “governments have intentionally unfold ailments in sure teams of individuals”. Individuals finishing the size are requested to reply to every assertion on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). The next imply rating signifies a better perception in conspiracy theories.
14 could possibly be a peak age for believing in conspiracy theories
It was through the strategy of testing the ACBQ that we discovered that conspiracy theories flourished in teenage years. Extra particularly, we discovered that 14 is the age adolescents are most certainly to start out believing in conspiracy theories. We uncovered this by analyzing whether or not age group variations existed in conspiracy beliefs. Within the second stage of testing the ACBQ – the place we questioned 178 adolescents – we discovered as youngsters be a part of 12 months 10 at age 14 (i.e. Key Stage 4 within the UK nationwide curriculum), their conspiracy beliefs are larger than their youthful counterparts. Study extra on this discovering right here.
Learn the paper printed in British Journal of Developmental Psychology (open-access)
Obtain the 9-item ACBQ