Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale - 5


1 The government permits or perpetrates acts of terrorism on its own soil, disguising its involvement.
2 Evidence of alien contact is being concealed from the public.
3 New and advanced technology which would harm current industry is being suppressed.
4 Certain significant events have been the result of the activity of a small group who secretly manipulate world events.
5 Experiments involving new drugs or technologies are routinely carried out on the public without their knowledge or consent.


The Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale - 5 (GCB-5; Kay & Slovic, 2022) is a 5-item, short form of the the 15-item Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale - 15. Across five studies, we demonstrated that the GCB-5 is both a reliable and valid measure of conspiracist ideation. With respect to its reliability, we found consistent evidence that a single latent factor underlies the GCB-5 and accounts for a sizeable proportion of the variation in its items. With respect to its validity, we showed that the GCB-5 is associated with both self- and informant-report measures of conspiracist beliefs, as well as with a multitude of theoretically relevant constructs, including anomie, fatalism, and delusional ideation. In the fifth study, we also provided evidence that the GCB-5 is not only a reliable and valid measure but also one that has promise for addressing novel research questions. Specifically, we showed that people high in conspiracist ideation—as assessed by the GCB-5—are more accepting of the use of nuclear weapons and other forms of so-called “virtuous violence” (e.g., anti-abortion legislation).


Kay, C. S. & Slovic, P. (2023). The generic conspiracist beliefs scale – 5: A short-form measure of conspiracist ideation. Journal of Research in Personality, 102, 104315.

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COVID-19 Conspiracist Ideation Scale


1 COVID-19 is a biological weapon that was developed under laboratory conditions.
2 The government had foreknowledge of COVID-19 but allowed its release to further its own goals.
3 Prominent scientists are suppressing the truth about COVID-19.
4 A secret organization instructed the media to downplay the risks of COVID-19.
5 A COVID-19 vaccine exists but is only available to elite members of society.


The COVID-19 Conspiracist Ideation Scale (CCIS; Kay, 2021, 2022) includes five-items intended to assess a person’s belief in generic COVID-19 conspiracy theories. The CCIS showed a strong positive association with the Conspiracy Mentality Questionnaire (r = .49, p < .001). The CCIS (r = .24, p < .001) and the Conspiracy Mentality Questionnaire (r = .28, p < .001) were both associated with being intolerant of uncertainty, and the associations were similar in magnitude (z = -0.72, p = .469). The CCIS (r = -.11, p = .107) did not show an association with believing the government was handling COVID-19 competently, whereas the Conspiracy Mentality Questionnaire did (r = -.23, p = .001). Nevertheless, the size of the association between the CCIS and trust in government was not significantly different than the size of the association between the Conspiracy Mentality Questionnaire and trust in government, z = 1.58, p = .114. Finally, the CCIS exhibited a substantial negative association with knowledge about COVID-19 (r = -.39, p < .001), which proved to be larger than the association between the Conspiracy Mentality Questionnaire and knowledge about COVID-19 (r = .00, p = .988) (z = -5.56, p < .001).


Kay, C. S. (2020). Predicting COVID-19 conspiracist ideation from the Dark Tetrad traits. PsyArXiv Preprint.

Kay, C. S. (2021). The targets of all treachery: Delusional ideation, paranoia, and the need for uniqueness as mediators between two forms of narcissism and conspiracy beliefs. Journal of Research in Personality, 93.

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Last updated: December 13th, 2022.