The Attraction Of Conspiracy Theories

Author: Sodacan (CC)

Author: Sodacan (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

Distrust and paranoia about government has a long history, and the feeling that there is a conspiracy of elites can lead to suspicion for authorities and the claims they make. For some, the attraction of conspiracy theories is so strong that it leads them to endorse entirely contradictory beliefs, according to a study in the current Social Psychological and Personality Science (published by SAGE).

People who endorse conspiracy theories see authorities as fundamentally deceptive. The conviction that the “official story” is untrue can lead people to believe several alternative theories-despite contradictions among them. “Any conspiracy theory that stands in opposition to the official narrative will gain some degree of endorsement from someone who holds a conpiracist worldview,” according to Michael Wood, Karen Douglas and Robbie Sutton of the University of Kent.

To see if conspiracy views were strong enough to lead to inconsistencies, the researchers asked 137 college students about the death of Princess Diana. The more people thought there “was an official campaign by the intelligence service to assassinate Diana,” the more they also believed that “Diana faked her own death to retreat into isolation.” Of course, Diana cannot be simultaneously dead and alive.

The researchers wanted to know if the contradictory beliefs were due to suspicion of authorities, so they asked 102 college students about the death of Osama bin Laden (OBL). People who believed that “when the raid took place, OBL was already dead,” were significantly more likely to also believe that “OBL is still alive.” Since bin Laden is not Schrödinger’s cat, he must either be alive or dead. The researchers found that the belief that the “actions of the Obama administration indicate that they are hiding some important or damaging piece of information about the raid” was responsible for the connection between the two conspiracy theories. Conspiracy belief is so potent that it will lead to belief in completely inconsistent ideas…

[continues at ScienceDaily]

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  • Guest

    One world to describe that article: LAME.

  • Anonymous

    Have you notice the increase amount of efforts to discredited conspiracy theories these days? These are just theories like the official ones on the creation of the moon and the evolution of mankind.. I think the problem is not the theories but the blind beliefs…

  • guest

    If you believed that OBL was already dead before the raid why would you also be likely to think he is still alive? I heard he died around 2001-2002. And I do believe that the raid was a ruse to justify US actions over the last decade. 

    • http://wearechangeatlanta.com/ Camron Wiltshire

      The emperor is rocking prada! (definitely NOT naked)  Wow, to think of the sniveling sycophant who wrote this trite nonsense.   And thus another yuppie soothes themselves of the agonizing splinter lodged deep within their dissonant minds, collects another fiat voucher, and proceeds to gaze longingly at the latest sales paper from the gap….so that they might masturbate to sleep, and weep….  Death of a fascist salesman….

    • DianaPawelski

      This is something we the public will never know for sure. I read on a few web sites bin Laden had died several years earlier of either liver of kidney failure. 

  • Yer Dad

    Well, Disinfo’s opneness is a great thing, yet here’s the
    other edge of the knife. We have tolerate garbage like this
    from people who would have us not question anything, to
    just simply believe that whatever we hear from official sources
    is true, should be trusted and never questioned.

    No fucking thanks. There’s more than enough evidenceto show that officialdom LIES, has been lying for a very
    long time, and will continue to lie.

    Good German should think about their user name maybe…

  • Pb

    Oh… THIS article again… :facepalm:

  • BossGeaR

    thank you, im glad the internet sees through this bs article. but yes i have noticed how much conspiracy theories have been discredited lately, it’s an attack on the character of the people who search for truth. trying to make you feel like you’re a country bumpkin who doesn’t know his head from his ass. thank god im not the only one who noticed.

  • marklar_primus

    As with any study conducted through polling, methodology is everything. Without revealing the methodology involved in the study we are left with only an assertion of fact much like that of a crank that claims an over unity free energy device but refuses to allow the device itself to be examined by outside sources.

    You’d thing a news site specializing in science news would realize that. Anything less is just a lame op-ed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JR6QMHI5D3L6Z4JJBSAKO4KJBE brock

    http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/01/18/1948550611434786.full.pdf+html
    Not too hard to track down the actual study referenced.

    • marklar_primus

      And there the flawed methodology or rather the fallacy of the conclusions reached is made apparent. Such a belief scale comparison hardly reveals conflicting beliefs, only that the person finds conflicting assertions to be plausible which is not the same thing at all. If one believes that the circumstances surrounding Princess Diana’s death are highly suspicious then one might easily believe that two conflicting explainations of the events may indeed be plausible without believing that either one is necessarily “the” correct answer. What this really indicates then is the open mindedness of conspiracy theorists as opposed to the placid acceptance of the mainstream.

      That science daily prints such flawed conclusions without talking about the methodology remains a deceptive practice unfit for true scientific discourse and makes them basically worthless as a source.

      • http://wearechangeatlanta.com/ Camron Wiltshire

        Well said!  

      • Randel

        I could not agree more. I applaud you for your comment sir! 

  • Dueyv9

    I’m sick of these articles. We all know there is no such thing as conspiracy theories. They are all true. No smiley face after this statement.

  • Gergith

    …. From this I can see that they are putting forth two conspiracy theories that contradict and use that as proof that neither are true or som sort of hypothesis like that? Garbage :p How many people were 100% certain that OBL was both murdered in 2002 as well as still alive… Or how many figured BOTH were just more probable then the official story… If we are taking an all or nothing paradigm, I think the official stories always fall apart. Things like 9/11 and oklahoma have official statements come out and change. Officially did tower 7 go down by fire? Or did it officially not actually go down? :p Like… Was it damaged to the point of collapse? They have never really gone into detail and keep flip flopping. With the oklahoma bombing in official news reports they kept increasing the size of explosives reported to be used. By the end he had more explosives then would fit into a cube van easily, let alone a tractor trailer…. So this isn’t an all or nothing thing.. IT’s a probability of truth. People into conspiracy theories simply believe there is a higher probability for an alternative truth then there is for the official story. Like… Do we all believe a passport was recovered from 9/11 from a hijacker within 2 days? They didn’t really find whole bodies and the building was pulverized… Hell tower 7 came down from these violent attacks, but the passport was cool… I can’t say nothing hit the towers that day. I can say it’s improbable that the passport was found that quickly.

    • Apathesis

      Top military explosives experts said there was no way the ANFO bomb McVeigh used could have done that much damage.  It’s in Everything You Know Is Wrong or You Are Still Being Lied To.

      ANFO is used to blow dirt out of holes, and the worst damage at OKC was well away from McVeigh’s truck.

      • Gergith

        Well that’s another part of it. I was specifically commenting on the idea of an OFFICIAL story. So regardless of whether it was ANFO or something else, the official news reports consistently were altered and inflated. So the actual physical volume of of what was being reported got to the point where not only it would not fit in a cube van, but it wouldn’t fit in a tractor trailer. So even ignoring the plausibility of the explosion itself; I bring it up as a very clear example of when the official story isn’t exact and it grows/forms over a period of time. A clear example of even if you believe the news. Do you believe there first official story, there most recent revision of the official story or what?

    • Mike

      Well said! “IT’s a probability of truth. People into conspiracy theories simply believe there is a higher probability for an alternative truth then there is for the official story.” This explains the motive to look into alternative conspiracy theories perfectly. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/abraham.hooker Abraham Hooker

    I would like to see how these questions were worded.  This just sounds like a distortion. 

  • TRicked

    The belief that there are NO conspiracies is as naive as the belief that EVERYTHING’S a conspiracy. Neither of those 2 things can possibly be true, therefore…

  • D.D.B.

    Fair enough. But when you’ve been force-fed bullshit for so long, it’s hard to come away a clear thinker!

  • Nahnoemail

    maybe a lot of college students are discordians.

  • http://twitter.com/seekgeek SeekGeek

    The author’s logic is inconsistent, not necessarily the conspiracy theorists’. If the belief is that the Official story is wrong then, when presented individually in opposition to the Official Theory, many “competing” alternate “conspiracy theories” could be more credible than the official story. In fact, if anything, it shows a less dogmatic approach – an admittance that no single conspiracy theory is neccessarily “the Truth”, but they are all individually more likely than the Official Version.  

  • http://twitter.com/OccupyWear1 Occupy Wear

    Officials would never lie to you.

    Go back to sleep.

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