The Gresham’s Law in Health Communication : When conspiracy theories drive out scientific information in uncertainty

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)Not applicablepeer-review

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

Conference

TitleThe 33rd Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society
LocationDubrovnik, Croatia
PlaceCroatia
CityDubrovnik
Period3 - 7 September 2019

Abstract

Medical conspiracy theories pose detrimental public health consequences. The underlying mechanism regarding individuals’ tendency to believe in conspiracy theories remained unclear. We propose that uncertainty decrease sense of control, and that would facilitate the endorsement of conspiracy theories over genuine scientific information, which are usually easier to comprehend than scientific theories, in order to replenish the sense of control, a.k.a conspiracy effect. 
A novel experimental paradigm would be devised. In Study 1 with a 2x3 design, participants would be randomly assigned into groups with or without manipulation in uncertainty level, and exposed to different information (conspiracy theory, or genuine scientific information, or both). The implicit sense of control would be measured by intentional binding. The outcome variable would be the extent of endorsement towards conspiracy theories and scientific knowledge in general. Study 2 is a 2x3x2 design that follows the methodology of Study 1 except, after the presentation of conspiracy or scientific information, participants would or would not be given a manipulation in boosting their sense of control. 
We expect that conspiracy effect to appear in uncertainty when they are also exposed to a conspiracy theory. However, if the participants also with their sense of control being boosted, we expect the conspiracy effect vanishes. 
We are working on the details of the experiments. 
The study contributes to revealing the potential detrimental effect of conspiracy theories in health communication. Boosting the sense of control in an individual may serve as an intervention in inoculating people from the harm of conspiracy theories.

Citation Format(s)

The Gresham’s Law in Health Communication : When conspiracy theories drive out scientific information in uncertainty. / Leung, C.K.L; Li, K.K.

2019. Paper presented at The 33rd Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)Not applicablepeer-review