Conspiracy beliefs (CBs) are often defined as simple explanations of complex events, whose consequences would arise from the deliberate will of a small group of people interested in keeping their plans secret. Research in this field has flourished recently. Studies showed that CBs affects individual citizens and society, producing a broad range of social and health consequences. These include distrust towards scientists and political institutions, social disengagement, hostile intergroup relations, hampering individual and public health (i.e., reducing vaccinations or pro-environmental behaviors), and economic growth of a country.
Despite the remarkable empirical work, the research on CBs presents a huge gap. Indeed, studies have quasi-totally neglected CBs related to sexual and gender minority (LGBTQ) people. LGBTQ CBs support the existence of a ‘Gay Lobby’ aims at the spread of homosexuality, the indoctrination of children in schools, the subversion of the natural order, and the establishment of a dictatorship of single thought based on 'Gender Theory' (a neologism devoid of any scientific value). Contrary to Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 of the European Commission, LGBTQ CBs are often used as arguments in political debate in Italy and Europe to hinder the passing of laws and negatively affect popular consensus regarding the fight against discrimination towards LGBTQ people, the promotion of anti-discrimination policies in school and work contexts, and the advancement of civil rights.
The present project aims at filling the research gap on LGBTQ CBs by a multidisciplinary and multi-method approach. Specifically, we aim at: 1) validating explicit and implicit measures of LGBTQ CBs in international contexts, involving both heterosexual and LGBTQ participants; 2) exploring antecedents (i.e., motives, individual differences, situational or social factors) of LGBTQ CBs in heterosexual and LGBTQ individuals by using both explicit and implicit measures; 3) investigating the consequences of LGBTQ CBs, using explicit and implicit measures, and innovative technologies such as heart rate variability tool and eye tracker to explore their physiological, affective, and behavioral reactions; 4) disseminating the results to distinct audiences (i.e., academia, policymakers, journalists, schools, general public, and social service agents) by seminars, symposia in national and international contexts, and a closing event of the project to reduce the detrimental impact of LGBTQ CBs on society. Dissemination will also occur through scientific and popular publications, presentations, interviews, and using a website specifically designed for this project.
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