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Decline in conspiracy theories. Really?

This entry was posted in Current conspiracy theories, JFK on 14 November 2013 by

Intrigued by Alfred’s post about Uscinski’s and Parent’s claim that conspiracy theorising has been on the decline since the JFK assassination, I went looking on Google’s Ngram Viewer (which ransacks the 5.2 million books that Google had digitised up to 2008) to see what could be gleaned from the books database. Here’s the result:

Conclusion: I don’t know what data Uscinski and Parent based their claim on, but this particular data set doesn’t support it.

1 Comment

  • Joe Uscinski says:

    Greetings! Interesting post!
    We base that claim on a sample of letters to the editor of the New York Times over a period of 120 years. Your N gram data is neat, and something Joe Parent and I explored in our research. However, you don’t know how many people bought or read any of those books picked up by N gram. So equating the publication of books with that term in it to actual beliefs in conspiracy theories might be tenuous.