Carrie Buckwalter | 2024 I.S. Symposium

Name: Carrie Buckwalter
Title: Our Quest for a New World Order: the Effects of Collective Narcissism and Conspiratorial Belief on Sharing Conspiratorial Headlines
Major: Political Science and Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Joseph Coll and Dr. Nathan Foster

When looking at conspiracy theories, people usually turn to personality traits to understand why individuals believe in them. One of the main gaps when trying to understands at conspiracy theories is looking at the combination of beliefs and personality traits to understand an individual’s behaviors. This study looks at the effects of collective narcissism and conspiratorial belief on sharing conspiracy theories online. Within this study, I argue that conspiratorial belief can act as both moderator and mediator to understand its effect of the underlying mechanism between collective narcissism and online interaction with conspiracy theories.

This research study used survey methods to measure a sample of 100 participants on CloudResearch. Afterward, I ran a series of multivariate linear regressions to determine the effects of a conspiratorial belief as both a mediator and a moderator. The multivariate regression showed that conspiratorial belief acts partial mediator. These results indicate that conspiratorial belief can partially explain the relationship between collective narcissism and sharing conspiracy theories online. Another multivariate regression showed that conspiratorial belief was not found to be statistically significant as a moderator. These results show that researchers need to consider multiple variables, not just one trait or another, when researching or trying to understand conspiracy theories. Future research should examine collective narcissism and conspiratorial belief’s effect on in-person engagement with conspiracies or how conspiracy theories are created.

Posted in Symposium 2024 on April 22, 2024.