Loaded Language and Conspiracy Theorizing
AuthorKlein, Emily; Hendler, James A.
Full CitationEmily Klein and James Hendler. "Loaded Language and Conspiracy Theorizing." In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, vol. 44, no. 44. June 2022
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AbstractLoaded language is an umbrella term for words, phrases, and overall rhetorical strategies that have strong emotional implications and intent to sway others. Belief in conspiracy theories is tied to a range of strong emotions (van Prooijen and Douglas, 2018). Accordingly, language with strong emotional and persuasive content may be expressed by people experiencing the strong emotions associated with conspiracy theorizing. In this research, we examine multiple types of loaded language in two online parenting forums: one historically against vaccination, and another historically accepting of vaccination. It is well-established that conspiracy theories are the most influential contributor to anti-vaccination views (Hornsey et al., 2018) and anti-vaccination beliefs are strongly correlated with belief in unrelated conspiracy theories (Goldberg & Richey, 2020). Results indicate that users of an anti-vaccination forum use a greater frequency of loaded language to express themselves than users of a vaccination-neutral forum.;
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