Thursday, February 25, 2021

Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

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U.S. authorities are still working to fully identify the perpetrators of the attack on the Capitol. It is clear that many of the attackers were inspired by false, conspiracy theories, such as the theory that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election, but the election was rigged.

Believing in conspiracy theories sometimes pushes people to do things they may never have thought of before, says Peter Ditto, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The moralization of issues pushes people to action. If I believed that the American election was rigged and the fair winner was “stolen”, I might have taken part in the Capitol storm. It would be wonderful and completely understandable if the election was really rigged. “But now the problem is that it did not happen, the election was not rigged,” Ditto said.

People who believe in conspiracy theories are less curious and often display narcissistic tendencies such as overestimating their own importance, need to be the center of attention, irresistible desire to admire it, lack of compassion for others, and fragile self-esteem. The study was published by Emory University in the journal Personality.

Nika Kabir, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, says conspiracy theories potentially appeal to all people, though some more so than others.

“We all hate uncertainty and therefore conspiracy theories somehow attract us all. We do not like the fact that we do not know why specific things are happening. It makes us feel out of control. Therefore, it is natural for the human brain to look for answers and explanations for specific events, “said Kabir.

Believing in conspiracy theories means thinking that the real events behind the important news are shrouded in mystery. Mysterious deeds are committed by the “mighty of this country.” Conspiracy thinking may include the theory that there is some great secret hidden from society.

When a famous person, be it a film director or a president, talks about conspiracy theories, it is a super-pervasive phenomenon of conspiracy theories. Cases like this further reinforce the conspiracy theories, Kabir said.

“People believe in conspiracy theories because they are already dissatisfied with something. “They are trying to explain the real reason for the dissatisfaction,” said the professor.

It seems that times of uncertainty such as a pandemic, for example, contribute to the development of conspiracy theories.

“People who are prone to conspiracy theories are also quite sensitive. They are especially anxious when they feel threatened. Now, during a pandemic, there are many in this condition. “When the world creates uncertainty and confusion, you look for connections with other people,” said Professor Ditto.

Ditto believes that people become vulnerable to conspiracy theories often because they can not easily explain the events that change their lives.

One of the most common conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks is that the twin skyscrapers were demolished not as a result of a plane crash, but to dismantle the building with controlled explosions.

There is also an unconfirmed belief about the Kovid-19 pandemic that it is a biological weapon that escaped from a Chinese laboratory.

Many Americans still find it hard to believe that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated by an ordinary American. This is still unbelievable to many, so they believe that there is some great conspiracy behind this murder.

“If you are in a close-knit society united around one faith, be it on social media or in real life, it strengthens your faith and trust in your faith,” Kabir said.

Ditto says that the evolution experienced over millions of years pushes people to divide into groups, to group with like-minded people.

“We still have very tribal approaches. We are very attached to our comrades, to people like us. “We still find it very difficult to relate to people who are not like us and do not have values ​​like ours,” Ditto said.

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Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?