My topic centers around the series of questions asked in the Chapman University Survey of American Fears on conspiracy theories and the degree to which Americans believe in them. The claims of such theories can range from strange, but ultimately harmless, such as the belief that the United States faked the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in 1969, to accusations with much serious implications such as the belief that the government is hiding information on the Las Vegas and/or Sandy Hook mass shootings. The latter recently made news with the biggest advocate of the “false flag shootings” belief, none other than living-meme, Alex Jones, being banned on nearly every media outlet within 24 hours. Though he had not encouraged such threats, some believers of the conspiracy harassed the parents of Newtown victims, and others. I want to find out what changes in the belief in conspiracy theories has occurred in the last few years, and hopefully create a hypothesis on why a change may have occurred. I will be using the Chapman University Survey of American Fears for my base data, along with books on the psychology behind belief in conspiracy theories. Ultimately, I want to see if there is a relationship between party affiliation/fringe groups and the belief in conspiracy theories. Finding which specific conspiracies certain groups believe will also give us insight into the mindset and ideas of that particular group. Fear of unemployment and fear of running out of money may also have a secondary effect on belief in such theories. My research paper will find and analyzes the data sets to support or not support my hypothesizes.
Allesina, Gianluca, "Fringe Groups and Their Beliefs in Conspiracies" (2018). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 289.