While research on the relationship between conspiratorial beliefs and populist attitudes has expanded over the years, concerns about causality in said relationship have not been successfully addressed. This research uses a two-pronged methodology combining observational and experimental data to put to empirical test the possibility that conspiratorial thinking breeds populist attitudes relying on Spain as a case study. A first study uses an online survey (N = 2887) to test how conspiratorial thinking covaries with the different dimensions of populist attitudes, accounting for the most likely confounders in this relationship. Results show that conspiratorial thinking and populist attitudes are associated even when considering potential spurious variables. We next use an online experiment (N = 537) in which we expose a randomly selected group to a vignette on three 9/11 conspiratorial stories, then they are asked about their populist attitudes. Our results lend credence to the literature pointing that conspiratorial beliefs led people to develop only one dimension of populist attitudes, the Manichean outlook.
- Conspiratorial beliefs
- Experimental data