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Does extreme political ideology predict conspiracy beliefs, economic evaluations and political trust? Evidence from Sweden

Journal article
Authors A. Krouwel
Y. Kutiyski
J. W. van Prooijena
Johan Martinsson
Elias Markstedt
Published in Journal of Social and Political Psychology
Volume 5
Issue 2
Pages 435-462
ISSN 2195-3325
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 435-462
Language en
Keywords Conspiracy belief, Economic evaluations, Extremism, Political ideology, Trust
Subject categories Psychology, Political Science


A large volume of academic research has demonstrated that individuals who profess radical political ideology, both left- and right-wing, tend to share similar underlying psychological patterns. By utilizing data collected through a voting advice application in Sweden, this study aims to assess whether extreme leftists and rightists share similarities in the psychological and political understanding of how society functions. We propose three hypotheses to test this pattern: Extreme left and right individuals are more inclined to believe in conspiracy theories than moderates; they are more likely to have negative economic evaluations; and they are less politically and interpersonally trustful. By means of hierarchical regression analyses, we reveal a quadratic relationship between extreme political ideology and conspiracy beliefs. Moreover, we find a similar linkage between ideology and economic evaluations. However, the empirical analyses fail to provide evidence that extreme ideology is related to lower political and interpersonal trust. © 2017, PsychOpen. All Rights Reserved.

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