Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Studies show that the majority of people believe in at least one conspiracy theory. They’re becoming increasingly pervasive in our everyday lives, with it not being uncommon to hear conspiracy theories coming from commanders-in-chief. Why would someone believe something that others perceive as crazy?

People believe conspiracy theories because they’re true

The reason that people subscribe to conspiracy theories is simple: because they’re true.

Conspiracy theories often turn out to be true

Watergate, MK Ultra… plenty of things have been considered conspiracy theories in their time but have later turned out to be true.

Conspiracy theories are often heavily researched

Conspiracy theories are often backed up by significant amounts of research and written academically.

People believe conspiracy theories as a cognitive reaction

The reasons we believe in conspiracy theories are rooted deep in our subconscious.

Conspiracy believers commit a cognitive error based on 'degenerating research programs'

Conspiracy theorists hang onto theories despite the indicators you would expect to see if it were true not being there.

Believing in conspiracy theories is comforting

It is more comforting to believe things are planned than being due to chance.

Conspiracy believers commit 'fatal attribution error'

People believe in conspiracies because of fatal attribution error - a psychological instinct.

Social factors make people believe in conspiracy theories

We don’t believe in conspiracy theories in a vacuum; rather, there are social factors to belief.

Peer pressure makes people believe in conspiracy theories

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

Group mentality makes people believe in conspiracy theories

The belief of conspiracy theories is part of a sort of groupthink.

People believe in conspiracy theories because of distrust of the mainstream

Those who distrust the mainstream in some sense are far more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.

People believe in conspiracy theories because they are conspiracists

Many of those who believe in conspiracy theories have a worldview that is singularly geared towards supporting them.

People believe in conspiracy theories because they distrust the media

Distrust of the ‘mainstream media’ is increasingly common, and has led to the spreading of conspiracy theories.

People believe in conspiracy theories because they distrust the government

Governmental distrust is on the rise, meaning that people are more likely to subscribe to beliefs that characterise it as an evil entity.

People believe in conspiracy theories for psychological reasons

A large body of scientific evidence suggest conspiracy believers are often psychologically unbalanced.

There are Epistemic motives for believing in conspiracy theories

There is evidence that conspiracy theories appear to appeal to individuals who seek accuracy and/or meaning, but perhaps lack the cognitive tools or experience problems that prevent them from being able to find accuracy and meaning via other more rational means.

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.

There is a 'Conspiracy Mentality' that predisposes people to believe in conspiracy theories

Some scholars believe that there may be such a thing as a tendency toward “conspiracy thinking,” or a general “conspiracy mindset”

There are Social motives for believing in conspiracy theories

Conspiracy Theories can serve as a social / psychological bond for groups that feel threatened or disadvantaged.

Conspiracy Believers often demonstrate psychological problems

Research has found believers suffer from paranoia, narcissism, and projection fantasies
Explore this question in a whole new way.
This page was last edited on Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 09:37 UTC