Thursday, July 21, 2022

People Who Believe Conspiracy Theories Just Want To Be Unique

9:25 PM | ,

Who Believe Conspiracy Theories

The persistent presence of conspiracy theories, from Nibiru speculations to climate change denials, consistently permeates our existence. However, the task of debunking these theories is formidable as they persistently re-emerge in various guises. 

Current research has illuminated the reasons why some individuals may subscribe to the belief that the Moon landing was a hoax or that vaccines cause autism, among other theories. The research suggests that the appeal of conspiracy theories may lie in their ability to make believers feel unique.

As revealed by PsyPost, these two research undertakings can be located in the journals of Social Psychology and the European Journal of Social Psychology. 

The first research endeavor, titled "I know things they don't know!", engaged over a thousand participants. The researchers found a trend where conspiracy theory advocates were more likely to believe they held exclusive knowledge. 

Moreover, the research uncovered that individuals possessing a higher degree of desire for uniqueness were more inclined to accept a particular theory. This inclination was also evident among those who were encouraged to be distinctive. 

"The research indicates that conspiracy theories may satisfy individuals' need for uniqueness, highlighting a motivational foundation for conspiracy belief," stated the research team, led by Anthony Lantian from Grenoble Alps University in France, in their publication.

However, they expressed uncertainty over whether this outcome was a result of the inherent content of the conspiracy theories, or simply because the theories were non-conventional.

In the second research, which also involved over a thousand participants, it was discovered that the need to stand out fostered irrational beliefs. This study was aptly titled “Too special to be duped”.

In three experiments, they found similar findings. Namely, people who wanted to be unique were more likely to believe and endorse conspiracy theories. They also found that a conspiracy theory that was made up received more support when participants were told only a minority of people believed it.“Together, these findings support the notion that conspiracy beliefs can be adopted as a means to attain a sense of uniqueness,” the authors, Roland Imhoff and Pia Karoline Lamberty from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Germany, wrote.

So the next time someone tells you the Bermuda triangle is swallowing planes or the Illuminati run the world, remember they’re probably just looking to stand out. 

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