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Conspiracy Beliefs, Politics, and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Conspiracy theories are increasingly a visible part of political life. Vaccine conspiracies were widespread even before COVID-19 and conspiratorial thinking has been tied to populist attitudes. During the pandemic, how people responded to conspiracies was literally a matter of life and death for both themselves and their surroundings. For its 2020-2021 (10th) wave, the European Social Survey included questions on the pandemic, trust, and conspiratorial thinking. Conspiracy items included general conspiratorial thinking, science conspiracies and COVID19 specific conspiracies allowing for a nuanced dissection of the relevant conspiracy attitudes and their connection to pandemic related attitudes or political thinking. The presentation will summarize original research on the connection of conspiratorial thinking and both populist attitudes and violence from pre-COVID data collections and present initial exploration of the European Social Survey data that is becoming available early December.

Image: Pexels: Protester in the US wants to make America think again