COVID conspiracy theorists 'more selfish' than others: new study
COVID-19 conspiracy theorists are more likely to respond selfishly to the pandemic rather than as society as a whole, new study finds.
COVID-19 conspiracy theorists are "more concerned" about themselves and "less concerned about the health of others", a new report suggests.
The study – released today by the University of Queensland – states that coronavirus conspiracy theorists are more likely to respond selfishly to the pandemic, rather than as a society.
They are also more "likely to focus on ways of helping themselves" such as stockpiling, and less likely to respond to community-focused strategies like hand-washing and social distancing.
"Furthermore, people who believed conspiracies later reported more reluctance to take a COVID-19 vaccine, in part because of their relatively self-focused attitudes," Prof. Jetten UQ School of Psychology said.
"COVID-19 conspiracy theories reported greater concerns about their own safety and lower concerns about the safety of close others, compared to people who didn't endorse the conspiracy theories as strongly," Prof. Jetten said.
Peter Collignon, professor of infectious diseases at the ANU Medical School said the report's findings are not surprising.
"It doesn't surprise me, but I think we have to be careful before labelling people self-centred, this group of people obviously are, but a lot are quite rightly concerned about their health," he said.
"The overall issue with the conspiracy is that there's no doubt COVID exists, no doubt that it spreads easily and no doubt it kills a lot people.
"For anyone to deny its existence, well I'm not sure what we can do about that because the evidence is overwhelming."
Prof. Collignon added that those who deny the existence of COVID-19 are only harming themselves in the end.
"I think it's a viewpoint that I think is not based on looking at all the information rationally," he said.
"I do think we have to be careful not to be too derogatory to these people though, they've got views for whatever reasons.
"The only people that they're hurting in the end are themselves.
"Some people will look at not only themselves but those around them and while others will look at only themselves."
The research team surveyed 4245 people from eight nations.