Study suggests one in three Swiss entertains Covid conspiracy theories

Belief in conspiracy theories could determine to what extent people are inclined to comply with lockdown measures. Keystone / Urs Flueeler

Coronavirus conspiracy theories have gained traction with around a third of people who responded to an academic survey in Switzerland and Germany.

This content was published on April 9, 2021 - 12:13

Researchers at the University of Basel asked the sample group of more than 1,600 people whether they believed such theories as Covid-19 is man-made, the pandemic is being used to exert authoritarian control over people or that vaccines secretly contain micro-chips.

One in ten respondents said they firmly believed in at least one of these theories while another 20% said they subscribed to a moderate degree. The vast majority of respondents (70%) said they completely rejected such theories.

The survey sample was also asked about their general psychological well-being.

On average, people who were more inclined towards conspiracy theories were younger, more stressed and often have paranoia-like tendencies. They also displayed a more extreme political stance and a lower level of education.

However, not everyone matched the assumed profile of a conspiracy theory advocate. “The results indicate that not everyone who agrees with a conspiracy theory automatically makes decisions after processing information in a negative light,” said psychologist Sarah KuhnExternal link.

Belief in conspiracy theories is likely to have a direct impact on corona lockdown compliance and the number of people willing to be vaccinated, the research team said.

The results of the study have been published in the journal Psychological Medicine.

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