The hidden appeal and aversion to political conspiracies as revealed in the response dynamics of partisans

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Date: Nov. 2017
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Author abstract
Length: 179 words

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Abstract :

To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2017.07.008 Byline: Nicholas D. Duran, Stephen P. Nicholson, Rick Dale Abstract: In this study, we used a mouse-tracking paradigm to capture subtle processing dynamics that may occur when people spontaneously endorse or disavow political conspiracies. Rather than exclusively focus on explicit, endpoint responses, we examined the underlying temptation to respond opposite of what is overtly reported. Our results revealed such tendencies in participants' arm movements as they provided "true" or "false" answers to political conspiracy statements relative to baseline statements. These effects were strongly modulated by whether participants identified with the Republican or Democratic parties. To interpret our findings, we argue that political conspiracies tap into hidden biases that may be at odds with each other, such that, even for nonbelievers of a particular conspiracy, there is an implicit appeal for ideologically-aligned conspiracies driven by motivated reasoning biases, and for believers, an implicit aversion to the same conspiracies driven by accuracy and self-presentation needs. Article History: Received 8 June 2016; Revised 19 July 2017; Accepted 21 July 2017

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A512512927