Where are you on the Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale?

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The Generic Conspiracy Beliefs scale by Rob Brotherton, et al, is a tool frequently used by researchers to get a quick measure of an individual's belief. This is often used to try to identify what other factors influence people's tendencies to believe in Conspiracy theories. It's composed of 15 questions:

  1. The government is involved in the murder of innocent citizens and/or well-known public figures, and keeps this a secret.
  2. The power held by heads of state is second to that of small unknown groups who really control world politics.
  3. Secret organizations communicate with extraterrestrials, but keep this fact from the public.
  4. The spread of certain viruses and/or diseases is the result of the deliberate, concealed efforts of some organization.
  5. Groups of scientists manipulate, fabricate, or suppress evidence in order to deceive the public.
  6. The government permits or perpetrates acts of terrorism on its own soil, disguising its involvement.
  7. A small, secret group of people is responsible for making all major decisions, such as going to war.
  8. Evidence of alien contact is being concealed from the public.
  9. Technology with mind-control capacities is used on people without their knowledge.
  10. New and advanced technology which would harm current industry is being suppressed.
  11. The government uses people as patsies to hide its involvement in criminal activity.
  12. Certain significant events have been the result of the activity of a small group who secretly manipulate world events.
  13. Some UFO sightings and rumours are planned or staged in order to distract the public from real alien contact.
  14. Experiments involving new drugs or technologies are routinely carried out on the public without their knowledge or consent.
  15. A lot of important information is deliberately concealed from the public out of self-interest.

Each answer has a five point possible response
  1. Disagree
  2. Somewhat disagree
  3. Neutral
  4. Somewhat agree
  5. Agree

An online version of the test is found here. If you want to take it then please do before reading more of this thread.

http://personality-testing.info/tests/GCBS/
(You will need to click on the "Start" button)

After taking it, post your results (at least the average) in the thread below.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think the test is somewhat flawed in that some of the questions are ambiguous, and there's not enough resoution in a five point scale to express very slight agreement with things.

My average score was 1.67/5, with a more detailed breakdown:

Government malfeasance: this facet reflects a belief that the government commits crimes on its own citizens. Your score was 1.33/5.

Extraterrestrial cover-up: this facet reflects a belief that information about aliens is being concealed from the public. Your score was 1/5.

Malevolent global conspiracies: this facet reflects a belief that governments and industry are controlled behind the scenes. Your score was 1.67/5.

Personal well-being: this facet reflects a belief that individuals are currently being harmed by concealed dangers. Your score was 1.33/5.

Control of information: this facet reflects a belief that science is manipulated. Your score was 3/5.
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A score of 1/5 is the lowest possible score (meaning you disagree with all the statements). I only got that regarding the ET coverup.

My highest score (3, neutral) was from "Control of information" which is where I think the questions are a bit ambiguous. For example: "A lot of important information is deliberately concealed from the public out of self-interest." - by who? Obviously people conceal information. Corporations and business do. What is "important information"?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
For example: "A lot of important information is deliberately concealed from the public out of self-interest." - by who? Obviously people conceal information. Corporations and business do. What is "important information"?
I took this question to mean by 'the government'. but I didn't know what 'a lot' meant. :)

and my alien thing being 2.33 is because if "I don't know", then I put 3 for neutral.
And the green dot.. I wasn't thinking "malevolent global conspiracies", I was thinking lobbyists and/or politicians trying to save their bums.. like everyone does from time to time.
 

Ph_

Closed Account
A lot can be answered positive without actually believing in modern conspiracy theories.
I don't believe the questions and assesments are representative.

5. Groups of scientists manipulate, fabricate, or suppress evidence in order to deceive the public

Have a look at the work that christian scientists produce in order to support their theory.
Same with the smoking lobby.

9. Technology with mind-control capacities is used on people without their knowledge.

See here the brainwashing of US prisoners in the Korean war by chinese when they were inventing it.
Also see the psycho analytic methods used in making commercials from the 1920 onwards. (Adam Curtis, The century of the self documentary)

10. New and advanced technology which would harm current industry is being suppressed.

Just look at car development keeping it away from hydrogen/electric.

15. A lot of important information is deliberately concealed from the public out of self-interest.

Something most people do almost every day, self preservation is coded in our DNA.

I don't believe the questions and assesments are representative of modern conspiracy alignment.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Have a look at the work that christian scientists produce in order to support their theory.
Same with the smoking lobby.
I don't think 'Christian scientists' are actually scientists. I think it's just a weird name they made up for their 'church'. although I could be wrong I guess.

Just look at car development keeping it away from hydrogen/electric.
I'm not sure that is the case either. If there was money to be made in hydrogen or electric cars, private industry would be making them, imo.

Although I agree with you in general.
 

Ph_

Closed Account
I'm not sure that is the case either. If there was money to be made in hydrogen or electric cars, private industry would be making them, imo.

If you can make more money on combustion cars, why bother with electric ones?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_car

There are several reasons for the reluctance of some dealers to sell plug-in electric vehicles. PEVs do not offer car dealers the same profits as gasoline-powered car. Plug-in electric vehicles take more time to sell because of the explaining required, which hurts overall sales and sales people commissions. Electric vehicles also may require less maintenance, resulting in loss of service revenue, and thus undermining the biggest source of dealer profits, their service departments. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), dealers on average make three times as much profit from service as they do from new car sales. However, a NADA spokesman said there was not sufficient data to prove that electric cars would require less maintenance.
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So the electric cars are far less likely to be sold by existing dealers, and other sales methods are banned by several states.
https://cleantechnica.com/2015/06/05/states-where-tesla-cant-sell-its-cars-have-125-superchargers/
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think the point of the scale isn't so much to gain insight into any one individual, but more to get a quick statistic that is, on average, useful for a relatively large group.

So you can take two groups of 500 random people, have one watch A New Pearl Harbor and the other watch Conspiracy Road Trip, and then measure the average GCB of each group to see what the effect is.

Or more likely, just have a large group of people take the GCB survey and in addition take a survey of their personality, socioeconomic status, education, etc. Then see what correlates with a high GCB score. The linked survey does this with an optional extra survey:

20170826-084038-xkc2k.jpg
 

Ph_

Closed Account
I think the point of the scale isn't so much to gain insight into any one individual, but more to get a quick statistic that is, on average, useful for a relatively large group.

The test is still skewed, it pushes well informed intelligent older people higher up the scale labeling them wrongly.
Their test are an example of that.

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00279/full
In Study 1, exploratory factor analysis of a novel 75-item measure of non-event-based conspiracist beliefs identified five conspiracist facets. The 15-item GCB scale was developed to sample from each of these themes. Studies 2, 3, and 4 examined the structure and validity of the GCB
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Study 1 To reconcile the conflicting requirements of brevity and completeness, a lengthy measure consisting of 75 generic conspiracist items was administered to an international sample of the general public and subjected to exploratory factor analysis (N = 489)
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Study 2 aimed to establish content and criterion-related validity, as well as test-retest reliability, using a sample of undergraduate students (N = 235) as is typical of most psychological research.
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Study 3 To recruit a diverse non-student sample, volunteers were requested via a public “Psychology of the Paranormal” emailing list. A total of 208 participants (91 females, 116 males, 1 participant did not provide gender information) completed the survey. Age ranged from 18 to 63 years (M = 40.5; SD = 13.5)
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Study 4 To recruit a diverse non-student sample, volunteers were requested via online forums and mailing lists. A sample of 194 participants (88 females, 105 males, 1 participant did not provide gender information) completed the survey. Age ranged from 18 to 81 years
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So they test their 75 item test with the general public, but their 15 item test only with undergraduates or mailing list/forum readers.
That's one sure way to let differences between both groups slip in to skew the results.
I'd rather go for the 75 item test.

Edit:Removed extra empty lines that quoting makes.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
So they test their 75 item test with the general public, but their 15 item test only with undergraduates or mailing list/forum readers.
That's one sure way to let differences between both groups slip in to skew the results.

The purpose of study 1 was to create the 15 question test from the 75 question test. The 15 questions (and factor loadings) were chosen so that the GCB result from 15 questions would very closely match the 75 question version.

The remaining three studies were to compare the 15 item results against other scales, like the Belief in conspiracy theories inventory (BCTI) - which ask about specific (rather than generic) conspiracies - often localized (like the 7/7 theory in the UK, or the Smolensk theory in Poland). The intent is to see if the generic scale is a good predictor of the more specific scales. The last study used personality factor scales rather than conspiracy scales.
 

Ph_

Closed Account
Would you agree with the following?

Knowledge of confirmed conspiracies and shady dealings would let you score higher in this test, grouping you with believers in debunked conspiracies and unconfirmed conspiracies like 9/11, contrails etcetera?

Edit:Added:

Nevermind, i think i am not representative of the audience they are testing.

Explaining Enhanced Logical Consistency during Decision Making in Autism
http://www.jneurosci.org/content/28/42/10746.full
We report both behavioral evidence that ASD subjects show a reduced susceptibility to the framing effect and psycho-physiological evidence that they fail to incorporate emotional context into the decision-making process.
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Nevermind, i think i am not representative of the audience they are testing.
I wouldn't worry too much about it. Psychologists always like to think they've got people 'figured out' with these weirdly worded studies. and biased conclusions.
ex: the use of the term "malevolent" here
Malevolent global conspiracies: this facet reflects a belief that governments and industry are controlled behind the scenes.
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But you are correct in that one can't really tell the difference between 'paranoia' and 'been around the block'.

Plus they may not consider people 'conspiracy theorists', unless they score like 4 or so. ? I didn't read up on the study, so that is just a guess.
 

Marin B

Active Member
I took the test twice. The 2nd time around I changed a few of my "disagrees" to "neutral" or between disagree and neutral, because while I don't have a belief in the particular assertion, I can't totally discount the possibility of it being true.

Government malfeasance: 1.67 then 2.33.
Extraterrestrial cover-up: 1 both times
Malevolent global conspiracies: 1 then 1.33.
Personal well-being: 1 then 1.33.
Control of information: 2.33 then 3.


Overall score : 1.4 then 1.8.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Interesting, however, I would be a 4.00 out of 5.00. Don't need to take the test. I believe human genetics and history have been manipulated since the time we became Homo sapiens sapiens and probably before that.
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.

Government malfeasance: this facet reflects a belief that the government commits crimes on its own citizens. Your score was 2.67/5.
Extraterrestrial cover-up: this facet reflects a belief that information about aliens is being concealed from the public. Your score was 1/5.
Malevolent global conspiracies: this facet reflects a belief that governments and industry are controlled behind the scenes. Your score was 1.33/5.
Personal well-being: this facet reflects a belief that individuals are currently being harmed by concealed dangers. Your score was 1.33/5.
Control of information: this facet reflects a belief that science is manipulated. Your score was 2.67/5.

Your overall score for conspiracist beliefs was 1.8/5. The average score of college students is 2.22
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Whitebeard

Senior Member.
Just look at car development keeping it away from hydrogen/electric.
Back in the 70s maybe, but times they are a changing...
https://www.theguardian.com/politic...all-diesel-and-petrol-cars-and-vans-from-2040
Britain is to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.

The commitment, which follows a similar pledge in France, is part of the government’s much-anticipated clean air plan, which has been at the heart of a protracted high court legal battle.

The government warned that the move, which will also take in hybrid vehicles, was needed because of the unnecessary and avoidable impact that poor air quality was having on people’s health. Ministers believe it poses the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, costing up to £2.7bn in lost productivity in one recent year.
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In Europe there is a growing serge of public opinion against petrol / diesel powered vehicles, governments are beginning to listen to public opinions and legislate accordingly. As for the motor manufactures, they are now faced with the stark choice of embrace the new clean technology or go out of business. So they are jumping on the bandwagon. This a report about BMW but with most if not all major European car builders it is a similar story
http://www.thedrive.com/sheetmetal/...-electric-cars-after-ev-sales-jump-50-percent
It certainly seems that BMW is in it for the long haul now when it comes to electric cars. It has become evident this is the shared thought amongst many manufacturers, as they invest more money into the infrastructure of electric charging and begin to pump out more and more EVs in the coming years. BMW has announced its plans to release several new EVs in the near future, including a new i8 roadster in 2018, a fully electric Mini in 2019, a fully electric X3 in 2020, and BMW’s autonomous electric iNext concept in 2021.

Why is BMW investing so much in electric cars? BMW recognizes the growth in sales, sure. But from a marketing perspective, BMW states that, from experience, they know customers prefer to have choices. And BMW has taken that to mean EVs, so it is prioritizing electrification of its vehicle lineup to meet this demand. BMW currently has eight variations of electric vehicles available for consumers to purchase.
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Rory

Senior Member.
1.73. I scored pretty high on the "science is hiding stuff from you" section (3.33) - I was also thinking about oil companies/lobbyists, etc vs electric cars.

Also feel the questions are open to a lot of interpretation. For example:
1. The government is involved in the murder of innocent citizens and/or well-known public figures, and keeps this a secret.
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Which government? I'm assuming they mean "the US government" - but not everyone lives in America. They should make this explicit. (I answered according to my assumption - probably would give different answers for US vs other governments.)
4. The spread of certain viruses and/or diseases is the result of the deliberate, concealed efforts of some organization.
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Made me wonder whether I should answer the questions based on what I feel is happening now, or what has happened in the past. If I include Tuskegee, that's one answer. If I go by what I feel organisations are doing today, and will do in the near future - seems like the fairest way to measure any group, or any person - that would be another.
10. New and advanced technology which would harm current industry is being suppressed.
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As stated, electric cars.
12. Certain significant events have been the result of the activity of a small group who secretly manipulate world events.
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"Significant" to who? I'd like to know how that word was being defined. And what's the difference between "world events" and "events"?
15. A lot of important information is deliberately concealed from the public out of self-interest.
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Again, I'd like to know what "a lot" meant - and the same could go for "important": they seem totally subjective terms. Also doesn't say who's doing the concealing, or where. Government? Big business? Nigeria? North Korea?
 
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George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Interesting, however, I would be a 4.00 out of 5.00. Don't need to take the test. I believe human genetics and history have been manipulated since the time we became Homo sapiens sapiens and probably before that.
Well, I went ahead and took the survey. I was very close to what I predicted.

Your overall score for conspiracist beliefs was 3.93/5.
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cloudspotter

Senior Member.
Government malfeasance
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: this facet reflects a belief that the government commits crimes on its own citizens. Your score was 2/5.

Extraterrestrial cover-up: this facet reflects a belief that information about aliens is being concealed from the public. Your score was 1/5.

Malevolent global conspiracies: this facet reflects a belief that governments and industry are controlled behind the scenes. Your score was 2/5.

Personal well-being: this facet reflects a belief that individuals are currently being harmed by concealed dangers. Your score was 1.33/5.

Control of information: this facet reflects a belief that science is manipulated. Your score was 3.67/5.
Your overall score for conspiracist beliefs was 2/5. The average score of college students is 2.22 (Brotherton, 2013).
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The Exxon coverup sprang to mind when I hit the question about manipulation
 
1624281103514.png

4.13 average

Seems high to me, but what do I know?

I agree with much of what Rory and Ph_ have written, though. The questions are too broad to be of much meaning. Whose government? Which countries, etc? When one has read about MK Ultra, Operation Mockingbird, the assassination of Lumumba, the coup against Mosaddegh, 3M and the C8/PFOA scandal, Union Carbide and Bhopal, LIBOR rigging, etc., all of which have been proven beyond reasonable doubt, one can very much believe in conspiracies without necessarily extending them to shape-shifting aliens.

I opted for the middle several times as I feel I'm agnostic on various topics (i.e. I have no way of knowing whether the government has or hasn't done something), which seemed resonable to me, but on others I picked 5 because I think small groups of people are responsible for most things that happen, e.g. a lead scientist and his/her team, religious leaders and their inner circle advisers, a minister and his/her advisers, a headteacher and his/her leadership team, a CEO and the board, a ship or plane's captain and his/her officers, a leader and a team of terrorist underlings, an editor and his/her staff, etc.
 
Is this weighted for plausibility?

Several of the questions are just not open to any real dispute...Others are barking mad.
 
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FatPhil

Senior Member.
These are the results of the Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale. The GCBS measures conspiracist beliefs broken down into five components, they are graphed below.

Government malfeasance: this facet reflects a belief that the government commits crimes on its own citizens. Your score was 2.67/5.
Extraterrestrial cover-up: this facet reflects a belief that information about aliens is being concealed from the public. Your score was 1/5.
Malevolent global conspiracies: this facet reflects a belief that governments and industry are controlled behind the scenes. Your score was 1.33/5.
Personal well-being: this facet reflects a belief that individuals are currently being harmed by concealed dangers. Your score was 1.67/5.
Control of information: this facet reflects a belief that science is manipulated. Your score was 3/5.

Your overall score for conspiracist beliefs was 1.93/5. The average score of college students is 2.22 (Brotherton, 2013).
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I can live with that. I would have liked a way of scoring "0" in some of the more hatstand questions.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
Is this weighted for plausibility?

Several of the questions are just not open to any real dispute...Others are barking mad.
Interestingly, a statement with which many conspiracy theorists would agree, the disagreement coming in which ones are on which side of the line.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
Data on how polarising each question is would be interesting. The *mean* tells you nothing, it's the bimodality that's interesting.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
GCBS.png
  1. The government is involved in the murder of innocent citizens and/or well-known public figures, and keeps this a secret.
  2. The power held by heads of state is second to that of small unknown groups who really control world politics.
  3. Secret organizations communicate with extraterrestrials, but keep this fact from the public.
  4. The spread of certain viruses and/or diseases is the result of the deliberate, concealed efforts of some organization.
  5. Groups of scientists manipulate, fabricate, or suppress evidence in order to deceive the public.
  6. The government permits or perpetrates acts of terrorism on its own soil, disguising its involvement.
  7. A small, secret group of people is responsible for making all major decisions, such as going to war.
  8. Evidence of alien contact is being concealed from the public.
  9. Technology with mind-control capacities is used on people without their knowledge.
  10. New and advanced technology which would harm current industry is being suppressed.
  11. The government uses people as patsies to hide its involvement in criminal activity.
  12. Certain significant events have been the result of the activity of a small group who secretly manipulate world events.
  13. Some UFO sightings and rumours are planned or staged in order to distract the public from real alien contact.
  14. Experiments involving new drugs or technologies are routinely carried out on the public without their knowledge or consent.
  15. A lot of important information is deliberately concealed from the public out of self-interest
1. is proven for some countries, I think?

5. is definitely proven, I just saw an article today:
Article:
Health research is based on trust. Health professionals and journal editors reading the results of a clinical trial assume that the trial happened and that the results were honestly reported. But about 20% of the time, said Ben Mol, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Monash Health, they would be wrong.


6. happened in Germany, once proven (das Celler Loch), at least once strongly suspected (that I know of) (NSU/Kassel)

12. "Bay of Pigs" comes to mind, and similar operations

and 15. is also obviously true, for example the details of the proposed TTIP treaty were kept secret; it kinda depends on how you define "a lot"
 
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