A large body of research has found mixed evidence that people who are quick to dismiss randomness as a potential cause for an event are also more likely to believe conspiracy theories. To clarify the relationship between randomness dismissal and conspiracist ideation, we conducted a high-powered preregistered replication of an influential study in the United States (n = 521) and Switzerland (n = 293), and a meta-analysis of the literature (N = 55 effect sizes). Both our study (0.03 < r's < 0.15) and meta-analysis (r = 0.16) found small, but positive and robust relationships between randomness dismissal and conspiracist ideation. Our replication investigated differences in statistical power, culture, and education as potential explanations for the conflicting findings in the literature. None of these factors could fully account for the mixed findings, although culture had an unexpected moderating role. Our study suggests that the relationship between randomness dismissal and conspiracist ideation is small and contextually sensitive.
- Conspiracy theory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science