top of page

Watching for a snake in the grass: Objectification increases conspiracy beliefs. British Journal of Social Psychology.


Poon, K., Chan, R. S. W., Lai, H., Jiang, Y., & Teng, F. (2024). Watching for a snake in the grass: Objectification increases conspiracy beliefs. British Journal of Social Psychology.

2022 Impact Factor 5.4 | 5-year Impact Factor 5.3

2022 JCR Rank 8/63, Q1 in Psychology, social | 2023 SJR Rank 17/304, Q1 in Psychology - Social Psychology


Objectification, being treated as a tool to achieve someone's instrumental goals, is a common phenomenon. A workplace supervisor may view employees solely in terms of their output; likewise, friends may be seen only for their potential for personal and social advancement. We conducted five studies (N = 1209) to test whether objectification increases conspiracy beliefs through thwarted trust and whether postobjectification increases in conspiracy beliefs carry behavioural implications. While conspiracy beliefs may have evolved as a strategy for survival, they may be considered maladaptive in the modern world. Therefore, understanding the antecedents, underlying mechanisms, and implications of conspiracy beliefs is essential. We measured (Study 1) and manipulated objectification (Studies 2–5), consistently finding that objectification decreased trust, thereby increasing conspiracy beliefs (Studies 1–5). This effect remained after considering negative emotions (Study 2). Increased conspiracy beliefs following objectification positively predicted unethical tendencies, and the effect of objectification on unethical tendencies was serially mediated by trust and conspiracy beliefs (Study 4). Restoring objectified people's trust weakened their conspiracy beliefs and unethical tendencies (Study 5). We discussed the implications of our findings, proposing directions for researchers, practitioners, managers, and policymakers for theoretical advancement, healthier coping, and promotion of well‐being. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2024 APA, all rights reserved)

bottom of page