argument top image

Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?
Back to question

There are Existential motives for believing in conspiracy theories

People turn to Conspiracy Theories when they're anxious and feel powerless. Research suggests conspiracy belief is strongly related to lack of sociopolitical control or lack of psychological empowerment.
< (2 of 5) Next argument >

The Argument

Causal explanations ("this happened because of that") serve the need for people to feel safe and secure in their environment and to exert control over the environment as autonomous individuals and as members of collectives. People who lack instrumental control may be afforded some compensatory sense of control by conspiracy theories, because they offer them the opportunity to reject official narratives and feel that they possess an alternative account. [1] Other scholars point to the idea that conspiracy‐theory endorsement may be a compensatory reaction to perceptions that society's essential character is changing. [2] Unfortunately, the research also shows conspiracy theory thinking only reinforces that sense of political alienation and disempowerment. [3]

Counter arguments


Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Friday, 24 Jul 2020 at 10:51 UTC

Explore related arguments