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A new study has linked a belief in conspiracy theories with an increased likelihood of committing minor crimes.
The research, which was conducted by two universities in the UK, determined that people who subscribe to conspiracy theories have a higher tendency to commit petty criminal acts.
"Our research has shown for the first time the role that conspiracy theories can play in determining an individual's attitude to everyday crime," said Karen Douglas, a psychologist at Kent University.
"It demonstrates that people subscribing to the view that others have conspired might be more inclined toward unethical actions."
Much of this may be due to a phenomenon known as 'anomie', a condition that evolves from a conflict of belief systems resulting in a breakdown of social bonds between the individual and the community.
Believing that there is a conspiracy can also decrease a person's feeling of 'belonging' in a society.
The researchers were keen to note however that while the study does imply a link, it doesn't necessarily mean that conspiracies directly cause people to commit more crimes.
"This research highlights that everyday crime might be a flexible and dynamic response to the social context, and in particular to how social norms are perceived to be followed (or not) by powerful groups in society," the study authors wrote.
"Engaging in everyday crime may be empowering for people who perceive that the world is full of conspiring powerful elites who ought to be challenged."
Source: Science Alert | Comments (16)