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Psychology of Conspiracy Theorists


FeralNormal master
One of the authors of this paper was on C2C last night and I can honestly say I have never heard a more interesting hour..of course its c2c so its a low bar :) but it was mostly because it dealt with my favorite area, the PSYCHOLOGY behind the extent of our belief systems. I have mentioned as much before in this forum, I am more interested in discussing the effect of UFO belief/non-belief on us individually as opposed to proving whether they exist or not . I hope some of you other guys caught it. It should be required listening. There was no attempt by the author to pass judgment on "believers " or "non-believers" just the dynamics behind both sides. As with any papers that touches on trying to define us psychological on an individual basis it isn't necessarily comfortable reading as some people might take offense at being defined but give it a go nevertheless.


Recent research into the psychology of conspiracy belief has highlighted the importance of belief systems in the acceptance or rejection of conspiracy theories. We examined a large sample of conspiracist (pro-conspiracy-theory) and conventionalist (anti-conspiracy-theory) comments on news websites in order to investigate the relative importance of promoting alternative explanations vs. rejecting conventional explanations for events. In accordance with our hypotheses, we found that conspiracist commenters were more likely to argue against the opposing interpretation and less likely to argue in favor of their own interpretation, while the opposite was true of conventionalist commenters. However, conspiracist comments were more likely to explicitly put forward an account than conventionalist comments were. In addition, conspiracists were more likely to express mistrust and made more positive and fewer negative references to other conspiracy theories. The data also indicate that conspiracists were largely unwilling to apply the “conspiracy theory” label to their own beliefs and objected when others did so, lending support to the long-held suggestion that conspiracy belief carries a social stigma. Finally, conventionalist arguments tended to have a more hostile tone. These tendencies in persuasive communication can be understood as a reflection of an underlying conspiracist worldview in which the details of individual conspiracy theories are less important than a generalized rejection of official explanations

PDF (free) available here:

Frontiers | “What about building 7?” A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories | Frontiers in Personality Science and Individual Differences
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