and the second is that it leads to believe in the existence of simple solutions to complex problems.
To test this hypothesis, a psychologist studied over 4,000 Dutch participants, asking them a series of questions through an online survey. After disclosing their education level, participants had to indicate on a likert scale their degree of agreement with 20 common conspiracy theories (e.g., that the oil industry is hiding a free energy source discovered a long time ago; that NASA kaked the moon landing; or that the British royal family orchestrated Lady Diana’s death).
Next, the survey asked “How powerless do you usually feel when you watch how events unfold in the news?” Finally, the subjects had to indicate their degree of agreement with such statements as “With the right policies, most problems in society are easy to solve”.
Results showed that, as expected, education level and belief in conspiracy theories were negatively related. But what is interesting is that this relation was mediated by the belief in simple solution to social problems--and to a lesser extent by a general feeling of powerlessness.
Source: Van Prooijen (2017)