Narcissists Seem Drawn to Conspiracy Theories, But Why?

Research has found that people who have been classified as narcissists – those who possess an overinflated sense of worthiness, lack empathy, and need to be noticed are most likely attracted by conspiracy theory and believe it.

A new study reveals four explanations for this from previous research:

  • Paranoia.
  • Inexperience with claims regarding what is real.
  • The desire to dominate.
  • The right to be exclusive.

These all influence the establishment of this connection between conspiracy theories and narcissists.

Researchers have suggested the possibility that all of these behaviors are linked to different elements that comprise narcissism.

The components are the proxy of extraversion (trying to make oneself more attractive and to gain respect through the use of imagination and magic) as well as hostility (being insecure, narcissistic, and wrong) and neurotic (experiencing feelings of shame and low self-esteem).

“We argue that each component of narcissism may predispose people to endorse conspiracy theories due to different psychological processes,” researchers have written in their article published.

The first is fear, and people who are narcissists think that other people are following them around and attempting to be detrimental. This makes believing certain conspiracy theories a lot easier.

There is also a need to control and dominate. Narcissists’ conditions for control and dominance could make conspiracy theories attractive as a method of assigning blame to another group to blame for things that go wrong.

The third one, the narcissistic desire for perfection, is associated with conspiracy theories as it offers access to privileged or secret information that is not accessible to everyone, which makes the people convinced of it secretive.

In the end, the risk of being naive is a sign that a person is more susceptible to inaccurate and misleading information. It is associated with the tendency of people who are narcissistic to be more ignorant and less likely to be able to make use of cognitive reasoning.

Researchers also discuss ways to apply these concepts. Narcissism is more prevalent among politicians than people in general. For instance, this means there is a possibility that government workers are more prone to conspiracy theories.

“Strong evidence linking the various components of narcissism to belief in conspiracy theories has important implications,” the researchers wrote.

Narcissists are often candidates for the political system and tend to be tempted to run for office.

The team behind the new study claims that a greater comprehension of the desire to be a believer in a conspiracy theory is crucial to break this link, perhaps by ensuring the psychological needs of these individuals are met or addressed in various ways.

The researchers believe that the psychological processes they examined could be used to address collective narcissism. for example, the desire for a certain segment of people to think they are unique and special.

Future research options include examining how Narcissists share and spread conspiratorial ideas (on social media, for instance) and how these findings may be connected with other forms of false or deliberately sensationalized news outside conspiracy theories.

“The narcissist’s desire for validation and recognition is likely to have effects not only on their beliefs but also on their behaviors,” the researchers wrote.

The study was released by the journal The Current Opinion Journal in Psychology.