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Department of Communication and Media Research Science Communication

International Journal of Communication: Typologizing the Swiss Population’s COVID-19-Related Conspiracy Beliefs

Individuals with conspiracy beliefs are sometimes described as a homogeneous and deviant, even pathological group of people supporting elaborate conspiracy theories. In a recently conducted study, Mike S. Schäfer, Daniela Mahl, Tobias Füchslin, Julia Metag, and Jing Zeng differentiate this perception. Based on a national online survey about the Swiss population’s perceptions of the COVID-19 pandemic (n = 1,072), the study uses latent class analysis (LCA) to reconstruct six distinct groups of individuals that all harbor conspiracy beliefs, but to different degrees and in different ways, ranging from Extreme Believers over Lingering Believers to Hype Cynics. Compared with the rest of the population, many of these groups inform themselves more often online and on social media, and segments with higher degrees of conspiracy beliefs in particular use social media often to disseminate their views.

Schäfer, M. S., Mahl, D., Füchslin, T., Metag, J., & Zeng, J. (2022). From "Hype Cynics" to "Extreme Believers": Typologizing the Swiss population's COVID-19-related conspiracy beliefs, their corresponding information behavior, and social media use. International Journal of Communication, 16, 2885–2910. (Link)