Conspiracies, or conspiracy theories, are beliefs shared by people that multiple actors—often powerful individuals within organizations—are working together to accomplish hidden, malevolent, or unlawful goals affecting others. Such beliefs are often resistant to falsifying evidence and tend to be driven by an overarching view that governments, in particular, are purposefully deceiving the general public. This entry defines conspiracies, identifies individual differences and situational factors that influence conspiracy belief, and discusses the relationship between conspiracy belief and political behavior.

Conspiracy Theories

Opinion polls find that the majority of the U.S. public endorses beliefs in some sort of conspiracy theory. Among the most popular contemporary conspiracy theories are beliefs that the U.S. government orchestrated the September 11, 2001 (9/11), terrorist attacks, that the assassination of President John F. ...

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