The Conspiracy Theory Bubble

Hugo Drochon in Persuasion:

It’s not surprising that the narrative we’ve heard a lot lately is that such theories exploded over the past 18 months. It’s common to see headlines asking why conspiracies are “thriving in the pandemic,” or declaring that we’re “Living in the Golden Age of Conspiracy Theories.”

But this is not the whole story. True, we’re hearing a lot about Covid-19 and QAnon-related conspiracies. But just because they are more visible does not mean that belief in them has gone up.

I’ve been doing work with Joseph Uscinski of the University of Miami—the leading specialist studying conspiracies theories—and we’ve carried out a number of studies, assessing whether Covid-19 conspiracy theories have proliferated over the course of the pandemic and whether we’ve seen a general increase in belief in conspiracy theories in the last fifty years. Our paper is currently under review, but our findings may surprise you: Belief in conspiracy theories has, if anything, decreased over the pandemic.

More here.