Does Self-Love or Self-Hate Predict Conspiracy Beliefs? Narcissism, Self-Esteem, and the Endorsement of Conspiracy Theories

Aleksandra Cichocka , Marta Marchlewska , Agnieszka Golec


Across three studies, we examined the role of self-evaluation in predicting conspiracy beliefs. Previous research linked the endorsement of conspiracy theories to low self-esteem. We propose that conspiracy theories should rather be appealing to individuals with exaggerated feelings of self-love, such as narcissists, due to their paranoid tendencies. In Study 1, general conspiracist beliefs were predicted by high individual narcissism but low self-esteem. Study 2 demonstrated that these effects were differentially mediated by paranoid thoughts, and independent of the effects of collective narcissism. Individual narcissism predicted generalized conspiracist beliefs, regardless of the conspiracy theories implicating in-group or out-group members, while collective narcissism predicted belief in out-group but not in-group conspiracies. Study 3 replicated the effects of individual narcissism and self-esteem on the endorsement of various specific conspiracy theories and demonstrated that the negative effect of self-esteem was largely accounted for by the general negativity toward humans associated with low self-esteem.
Author Aleksandra Cichocka
Aleksandra Cichocka,,
, Marta Marchlewska
Marta Marchlewska,,
, Agnieszka Golec (Wydział Zamiejscowy w Poznaniu)
Agnieszka Golec,,
- Wydział Zamiejscowy w Poznaniu
Journal seriesSocial Psychological and Personality Science, ISSN 1948-5506, (A 35 pkt)
Issue year2016
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in Englishconspiracy theories, self-esteem, narcissism, collective narcissism, paranoia
ASJC Classification3203 Clinical Psychology; 3207 Social Psychology
Languageen angielski
Golec de Zavala A._Does self-lovers_all_2015.pdf 251.43 KB
Score (nominal)35
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 1.073; WoS Impact Factor: 2016 = 1.883 (2) - 2016=2.718 (5)
Citation count*111 (2021-02-28)
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