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Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?
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Peer pressure makes people believe in conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theorists are often part of communities which socially reward them for believing.
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The Argument

Particularly with the creation of an online conspiracy community, people have a social incentive to believe in conspiracies. People who are socially isolated may experience a desire to find meaning.[1] They may then find online conspiracy theory communities and latch onto them as social communities. As conspiracy theories become more community-based, it is entirely possible that believers could become part of one of these communities and not want to suffer the social penalty that not believing conspiracy theories may then introduce.[2]

Counter arguments

There is no social element to conspiracy theories, as, in reality, people would gain social capital if they disavowed conspiracy theories.[3] Those who subscribe to conspiracy theories are not rewarded, but socially punished and made to feel like outcasts.


[P1] People may join conspiracy theory communities to overcome social isolation. [P2] They then have a social incentive to continue to believe in conspiracy theories.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] There is more of a social incentive to not believe in conspiracy theories.


This page was last edited on Monday, 16 Mar 2020 at 17:17 UTC

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