New study indicates populist attitudes are associated with gullibility.

Populism exists throughout the political spectrum as a political ideology that defines society as conflict between ordinary people and the elites. Many conspiracy theories fit populist ideals in how they hinge on the elites as responsible for ordinary people’s societal issues. New research, published in Political Psychology, found that populist attitudes are associated with conspiracy mentality, which is the tendency to believe in the prevalence of conspiracy theories.

Populist attitudes group the world into two adversarial groups: us “the people” vs. them “the elites.” Study author Jan-Willem van Prooijen and colleagues argue that seeing the world so simplistically might be associated with less critical evaluation of information, especially if that information is in favor of the people and against the elites.

“Accordingly, populist attitudes are empirically related with the belief that simple solutions exist for complex societal problems,” wrote the researchers. “Paradoxically, this clear-cut worldview that characterizes populist attitudes is likely associated with an increased confidence in the veracity of their cognitions and beliefs—and with it, increased gullibility.”

Truthfully, no comment is necessary, but if I had to comment, it’d be, “uh, duh!”

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