Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care
Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories
By MAGGIE KOERTH-BAKER
The New York Times
Published: May 21, 2013
“The best predictor of belief in a conspiracy theory is belief in other conspiracy theories,” says Viren Swami, a psychology professor who studies conspiracy belief at the University of Westminster in England. Psychologists say that’s because a conspiracy theory isn’t so much a response to a single event as it is an expression of an overarching worldview.
In 2010, Swami and a co-author summarized this research in The Psychologist, a scientific journal. They found, perhaps surprisingly, that believers are more likely to be cynical about the world in general and politics in particular. Conspiracy theories also seem to be more compelling to those with low self-worth, especially with regard to their sense of agency in the world at large. Conspiracy theories appear to be a way of reacting to uncertainty and powerlessness.