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Journal Articles Scandinavian Journal of Psychology Year : 2023

Experimental manipulation of uncanny feeling does not increase adherence to conspiracy theories

Abstract

Research over the past decade has shown that endorsement of conspiracy theories (CTs) is shaped by motivated cognition processes. Accordingly, CTs are theorized to stem from compensatory processes, as individuals attempt to cope with existential threats (i.e., uncertainty, loss of control). Based on the meaning maintenance model, we investigated whether this compensatory effect could follow from epistemic threats in domains unrelated to CTs in the form of uncanniness. Feelings of uncanniness were experimentally manipulated through exposure to absurdist art and literature in a set of five studies, followed by a mini meta‐analysis ( N total = 1,041). We conducted a final, preregistered sixth study ( N = 266) manipulating uncanniness through autobiographical recall. No robust evidence for a compensatory effect was found. We discussed methodological and conceptual limitations of the meaning maintenance model, as well as boundary conditions under which conspiracy theories could have a compensatory function to deal with threats.
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licence : CC BY - Attribution

Dates and versions

hal-04181105 , version 1 (14-08-2023)
hal-04181105 , version 2 (27-11-2023)

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Florent Varet, Jaïs Adam-Troian, Eric Bonetto, Alexis Akinyemi, Anthony Lantian, et al.. Experimental manipulation of uncanny feeling does not increase adherence to conspiracy theories. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2023, ⟨10.1111/sjop.12962⟩. ⟨hal-04181105v2⟩
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