Loaded Language and Conspiracy Theories on Reddit and Parler

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Authors
Klein, Emily
Hendler, James A.
Golbeck, Jen
Issue Date
2023-07-17
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Article
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en_US
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Previous research found that loaded language (i.e., words, phrases, and overall rhetorical strategies that have strong emotional implications and intent to sway others) is used with significantly greater frequency by users of an online anti-vaccination forum compared to users of a vaccination-neutral forum. Our present research expands on these findings by examining the presence of loaded language on forums dedicated to discussing a broader range of conspiratorial topics. We compare loaded language usage on the subreddit r/conspiracy with usage on r/science and r/wallstreetbets. Results corroborate the previous literature. We additionally examined the presence of loaded language in a dataset from the alt-tech social networking platform Parler on January 6, 2021, when the U.S. Capitol was attacked because of conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 Presidential Election. Results show that loaded language, whose usage is linked to the cognitive motivations underlying belief in conspiracy theories, is a linguistic marker of conspiracy theorizing.
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Klein, E., Hendler, J., & Golbeck, J. (2023). Loaded Language and Conspiracy Theories on Reddit and Parler. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 45. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/4jj9s6xf
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eScholarship.org (Univ. of California)
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