While official science has given its answer to the question on the origin of the Coronavirus (animal to human transmission), alternative theories on human creation of the virus – purposely or inadvertently – have flourished. Those alternative theories can be easily located among the family of conspiracy theories, as they always assume some secretive activity of some groups acting on their self-interest and against the good of the many. The article assesses the prevalence of these beliefs during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, studies its development during the pandemic, and investigates its potential determinants. In particular, it analyses the relationship between beliefs in alternative theories on the origin of the virus and political orientation, by arguing that the association cannot be attributed to (politically) motivated reasoning, as the issue has not been highly politicized in the Italian context. Alternatively, the article suggests that the main factor driving beliefs in alternative accounts on the origins of the virus is institutional trust. Political orientation moderates its effects, depending on specific conditions (e.g. cue taking, position of the supported party either in government or opposition), and eventually reinforcing scepticism towards epistemic authorities for those with low trust in institutions. Data come from the ResPOnsE COVID-19 survey, carried out with daily samples from April to July 2020 (N > 15.000) to monitor the development of the Italian public opinion during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Where does the Coronavirus come from? On the mechanisms underlying the endorsement of conspiracy theories on the origin of SARS-CoV-2 / C. Vezzoni, G.M. Dotti Sani, A.M. Chiesi, R. Ladini, F. BIOLCATI RINALDI, S. Guglielmi, N. Maggini, M. Maraffi, F.B. Molteni, A. Pedrazzani, P. Segatti. - In: RIVISTA ITALIANA DI SCIENZA POLITICA. - ISSN 0048-8402. - (2021). [Epub ahead of print] [10.1017/ipo.2021.19]

Where does the Coronavirus come from? On the mechanisms underlying the endorsement of conspiracy theories on the origin of SARS-CoV-2

C. Vezzoni;G.M. Dotti Sani;A.M. Chiesi;R. Ladini;F. BIOLCATI RINALDI;S. Guglielmi;N. Maggini;M. Maraffi;F.B. Molteni;A. Pedrazzani;P. Segatti
2021

Abstract

While official science has given its answer to the question on the origin of the Coronavirus (animal to human transmission), alternative theories on human creation of the virus – purposely or inadvertently – have flourished. Those alternative theories can be easily located among the family of conspiracy theories, as they always assume some secretive activity of some groups acting on their self-interest and against the good of the many. The article assesses the prevalence of these beliefs during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, studies its development during the pandemic, and investigates its potential determinants. In particular, it analyses the relationship between beliefs in alternative theories on the origin of the virus and political orientation, by arguing that the association cannot be attributed to (politically) motivated reasoning, as the issue has not been highly politicized in the Italian context. Alternatively, the article suggests that the main factor driving beliefs in alternative accounts on the origins of the virus is institutional trust. Political orientation moderates its effects, depending on specific conditions (e.g. cue taking, position of the supported party either in government or opposition), and eventually reinforcing scepticism towards epistemic authorities for those with low trust in institutions. Data come from the ResPOnsE COVID-19 survey, carried out with daily samples from April to July 2020 (N > 15.000) to monitor the development of the Italian public opinion during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Conspiracy theory; COVID-19; Institutional trust; Motivated reasoning; Pandemic; Partisanship
Settore SPS/04 - Scienza Politica
Settore SPS/11 - Sociologia dei Fenomeni Politici
5-lug-2021
https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/italian-political-science-review-rivista-italiana-di-scienza-politica/article/where-does-the-coronavirus-come-from-on-the-mechanisms-underlying-the-endorsement-of-conspiracy-theories-on-the-origin-of-sarscov2/E84905210EDF8BAB4BC81AD81C648AE8
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/856122
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