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< Back to question Why do people believe in conspiracy theories? Show more Show less

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 in conspiracy theories for psychological reasons Show more Show less

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

The causal explanations that Conspiracy Theories provide are comforting. These include - slaking curiosity when information is unavailable - reducing uncertainty and bewilderment when available information is conflicting - finding meaning when events seem random - and defending beliefs from disconfirmation Conspiracy theories provide great comfort because they provide a closed and protective information loop: as a conspiracy believer, anybody telling you that you are wrong, or sharing information that challenges your beliefs can be seen as part of the broader conspiracy. It might be added that Conspiracy Believers who do so for epistemic (knowledge / understanding) reasons, tend to display the following characteristics: - overestimate their ability to understand complex causal phenomena - need cognitive closure - are prone to commit the Conjunction Fallacy - lower analytic thinking - hypersensitive agency detection (attribute intentionality where it isn't) - tendency to accept unwarranted beliefs - lower intelligence [1]

Counter arguments


Rejecting the premises



This page was last edited on Thursday, 23 Jul 2020 at 16:39 UTC

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