Lunar Lies: The Impact of Informational Framing and Individual Differences in Shaping Conspiracist Beliefs About the Moon Landings


Dr Viren Swami, Department of Psychology, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW, UK.



Two studies examined the role of informational framing and individual differences on acceptance of the moon landings conspiracy theory (CT). In Study 1, participants were randomly assigned to one of three experimental groups in which they were exposed to different forms of information about the moon landings CT. Results showed that information critical of the moon landings CT resulted in attenuated conspiracist beliefs and that information supportive of the CT resulted in stronger conspiracist beliefs. In addition, stronger belief in the moon landings CT was associated with participants' belief in other CTs and openness to experience. In Study 2, participants completed a survey measuring their belief in the moon landings CT and a range of individual difference factors. Results showed that acceptance of the moon landings CT was associated with the adoption of a conspiracist worldview and schizotypal tendencies. Possibilities for conceptualizing the functional roles played by CTs are discussed. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.