Author Topic: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories  (Read 49 times)

Offline Goddess

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The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
« on: October 11, 2017, 10:42:50 am »
Interesting article:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2017/10/05/the-psychology-of-conspiracy-theories-why-do-people-believe-them/

Do people who are prone to believe conspiracy theories share common psychological traits?

In response to a flood of theories about recent events in Las Vegas an article on PsychCentral reviews the literature and comes to some uncomplimentary conclusions.

Personality traits such as distrust, low agreeability, and Machiavellianism are associated with conspiracy belief. It also finds a correlation between conspiracy beliefs and low levels of analytical thinking.

A 2017 paper by Lantian et al also connected conspiracy beliefs with narcissism and paranoia. In the past people with such ideas tended to be socially isolated but the internet has made it possible for thousands to unite within hours of an event and reinforce each other's paranoia.

"Conspiracy theories are driven by the people who believe and spread them and their own psychological makeup — not on the factual support or logical reasoning of the theory itself."

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Offline Goddess

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Re: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2017, 10:53:34 am »
Found the article that covers the Lantian research:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/media-spotlight/201708/what-makes-conspiracy-theories-so-appealing

Quote
For conspiracy theories, one of the factors that makes their belief so strong may well be the sense of personal identity that comes from belonging to a particular group, i.e., the minority that "knows" what is really going on, may cause them to reject any evidence that might shake that belief. This can also cause them to look down on people who may not share their beliefs.....................


Offline Goddess

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Re: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2017, 10:55:25 am »
I find this fascinating, as a former JW.  Because basically religious beliefs are like conspiracy beliefs.

To be a JW you have to believe that the world is under the secret control of an invisible wicked spirit whose principle aim is to disrupt the lives of the group you belong to. Every bad thing that happens is attributed to this secret enemy known only to those “in the know”.

You accept that you have inside information hidden form the rest of the world about the biggest event in history that any day will see the obliteration of more than 99% of earths population, you also know exactly who will survive this event – you and your fellow conspirators.

You must be convinced that all religious beliefs are misguided apart from the ever-changing views of the one tiny organisation, which you happened to discover or were lucky enough to be born into.

One day soon the collective member states of the United Nations, apparently bored with dealing with real issues, will focus their combined might against your little group.

You must accept that the creator of the universe communicates his will via a tiny group of 9 or 10 old men, whose names you hardly know, who meet in secret sessions in an office in NY.

Offline MH

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Re: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2017, 11:07:13 am »
Well... maybe.  I can accept the religious magic as long as it's not clearly pernicious and harmful, but the conspiracy theory loosens social bonds directly so I can't get behind that at all.

Offline Goddess

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Re: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2017, 11:13:03 am »
Do people who are prone to believe conspiracy theories share similar political beliefs?

I ask this because I get the feeling that most of the conspiracy theories are to do with America or Israel ...

Offline Goddess

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Re: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2017, 11:14:13 am »
While believing every conspiracy theory out there is foolish, I think it is also foolish to think that there aren't things that go on behind closed doors that the average person will never know a thing about or connections that the media conveniently ignores.

Offline MH

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Re: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2017, 11:27:28 am »
Do people who are prone to believe conspiracy theories share similar political beliefs?

Sort of.  They are actually kind of apolitical people, in my experience, who take disrespect for the political process to an extreme by attributing malevolence to it.

Offline Goddess

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Re: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2017, 11:34:30 am »
I wonder if that disrespect is the start of it.....and then the personality takes it to the extreme?

Narcissists are attracted to the notion they are witnessing unique events whose significance only they appreciate.

Offline MH

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Re: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2017, 11:39:27 am »
There's a lot of disdain for 'ordinary people' in it.  I have been called 'arrogant' by such types, but I actually believe in democracy and wouldn't use a term like "the sheeple".   They also seem to have a disdain for some aspects of popular culture, and seem to equate popular culture with being brainwashed... literally.
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Offline SirJohn

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Re: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2017, 12:15:53 pm »
There's a lot of disdain for 'ordinary people' in it.  I have been called 'arrogant' by such types, but I actually believe in democracy and wouldn't use a term like "the sheeple".   They also seem to have a disdain for some aspects of popular culture, and seem to equate popular culture with being brainwashed... literally.

I absolutely have no time for these people. Honestly, round them all up, ship them out to the countryside and make them pick fruit for a living. Their arrogance combined with their ignorance and insane paranoia just pisses me off.  They are cretins.

Offline MH

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Re: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2017, 12:24:30 pm »
I absolutely have no time for these people. Honestly, round them all up, ship them out to the countryside and make them pick fruit for a living. Their arrogance combined with their ignorance and insane paranoia just pisses me off.  They are cretins.

While I agree with your assessment, let's put our brains together to come up with a better solution.

Let's see:

-ridicule
(that seems to work a little, but not completely.  maybe one tool in the box.)

-engage and build trust
(doesn't seem to work.  they have their own disinformation networks that are unassailable and ridiculous.)

-harassment
(sure but be careful)

-fake engagement
(perhaps forment ambassadors from within existing political movements to deal with them ?  a new idea...)

Offline Hal 9000

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Re: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2017, 07:02:09 pm »
Clearly a planted article to shake us off from what the Illuminati is planning.