Conspiracy Theories about Infectious Diseases: An Introduction

Ying Yi Hong, Hoi Wing Chan, Karen M. Douglas

Research output: Journal article publicationEditorial

2 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding why people believe conspiracy theories related to disease outbreaks and the consequences of such beliefs is critical for combating both the COVID-19 pandemic and its corresponding “infodemic.” In the introduction to this special issue on conspiracy theories about infectious diseases, the authors first provide a brief overview of the narratives of conspiracy theories related to COVID-19, followed by a review of extant theoretical frameworks regarding the psychology of conspiracy beliefs. Specifically, they discuss how epistemic, existential, and social needs contribute to the holding of conspiracy beliefs. Then, the authors summarize the major findings from the nine empirical articles featured in this issue, particularly how they shed light on the antecedents and consequences of disease-related conspiracy beliefs. They conclude by discussing future directions for the study of disease-related conspiracy beliefs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pacific Rim Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • conspiracy beliefs
  • conspiracy theories
  • COVID-19
  • infectious diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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