Thursday, May 2, 2013

Scientific American: Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories

Sander van der Linden, in a Scientific American post, reviews the environment of conspiracism and psychology detailing the correlates with adhering to the conspiracist world-view as: believing in other contradictory conspiracies; "higher-order beliefs" (such as general distrust of authority); rejection of mainstream science; and disengagement from society and politics, which they attribute (to some degree) to "fundamental attribution error," where people are biased towards seeing most events as intentional.

Sander makes an interesting point about conspiracy memes and culture, softening the negative correlates in the article:

<blockquote>"Yet, such pathological explanations have proven to be widely insufficient because conspiracy theories are not just the implausible visions of a paranoid minority. For example, a national poll released just this month reports that 37 percent of Americans believe that global warming is a hoax, 21 percent think that the US government is covering up evidence of alien existence and 28 percent believe a secret elite power with a globalist agenda is conspiring to rule the world."</blockquote>

This ties in with my recent paper on psychological religious disorders [], where I found that clinicians could only diagnose belief as delusion if it wasn't one "…ordinarily accepted by other members of the individual's culture or subculture (e.g., it is not an article of religious faith)."

Interesting read. Check it out: <a href=""></a>

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