'They will not control us': Ingroup positivity and belief in intergroup conspiracies

Br J Psychol. 2016 Aug;107(3):556-76. doi: 10.1111/bjop.12158. Epub 2015 Oct 28.


This research examined the role of different forms of positive regard for the ingroup in predicting beliefs in intergroup conspiracies. Collective narcissism reflects a belief in ingroup greatness contingent on others' recognition. We hypothesized that collective narcissism should be especially likely to foster outgroup conspiracy beliefs. Non-narcissistic ingroup positivity, on the other hand, should predict a weaker tendency to believe in conspiracy theories. In Study 1, the endorsement of conspiratorial explanations of outgroup actions was positively predicted by collective narcissism but negatively by non-narcissistic ingroup positivity. Study 2 showed that the opposite effects of collective narcissism and non-narcissistic ingroup positivity on conspiracy beliefs were mediated via differential perceptions of threat. Study 3 manipulated whether conspiracy theories implicated ingroup or outgroup members. Collective narcissism predicted belief in outgroup conspiracies but not in ingroup conspiracies, while non-narcissistic ingroup positivity predicted lower conspiracy beliefs, regardless of them being ascribed to the ingroup or the outgroup.

Keywords: collective narcissism; conspiracy beliefs; ingroup identification; threat.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Group Processes*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Concept
  • Social Identification*
  • Young Adult