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https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12140755

Conspiracy theories have been cooked up throughout history, but they're increasingly visible lately.
Given that any particular conspiracy theory is unlikely to be the subject of mainstream consensus, what draws people to them?
New research suggests that people with certain personality traits and cognitive styles are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.
"These people tend to be more suspicious, untrusting, eccentric, needing to feel special, with a tendency to regard the world as an inherently dangerous place," said Josh Hart, an associate professor at Union College in the US.
"They are also more likely to detect meaningful patterns where they might not exist.
"People who are reluctant to believe in conspiracy theories tend to have the opposite qualities."
Hart and colleagues surveyed more than 1200 American adults.
Participants were asked a series of questions related to their personality traits, partisan bent and demographic background.
They were also asked whether they agreed with generic conspiratorial statements, such as: "The power held by heads of state is second to that of small unknown groups who really control world politics," and "groups of scientists manipulate, fabricate or suppress evidence in order to deceive the public".
Previous research had shown that people gravitate toward conspiracy theories that affirm or validate their political view: Republicans were vastly more likely than Democrats to believe the Obama "birther" theory or that climate change was a hoax.
Democrats were more likely to believe that Donald Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians, Hart said.
Some people were also habitual conspiracists who entertain a variety of generic theories.
For example, they believed that world politics was controlled by a cabal instead of governments or that scientists systematically deceive the public.
This indicated that personality or other individual differences might be at play.
Hart wanted to build on this research by testing how much each of several previously identified traits could explain generic conspiracy beliefs.
By examining multiple traits simultaneously, the pair could determine which ones were most important.
"Our results clearly showed that the strongest predictor of conspiracy belief was a constellation of personality characteristics collectively referred to as 'schizotypy'," Hart said.
The trait borrowed its name from schizophrenia, but it did not imply a clinical diagnosis.
Hart's study also showed that conspiracists had distinct cognitive tendencies: they were more likely than nonbelievers to judge nonsensical statements as profound - a tendency known as "BS receptivity".
In turn, they were more likely to say that nonhuman objects - triangle shapes moving around on a computer screen - were acting intentionally.
"In other words, they inferred meaning and motive where others did not," he said.
So what did this all mean?
"First, it helps to realise that conspiracy theories differ from other worldviews in that they are fundamentally gloomy," Hart said.
"This sets them apart from the typically uplifting messages conveyed by, say, religious and spiritual beliefs. At first blush this is a conundrum.
"However, if you are the type of person who looks out at the world and sees a chaotic, malevolent landscape full of senseless injustice and suffering, then perhaps there is a modicum of comfort to be found in the notion that there is someone, or some small group of people, responsible for it all.
"If 'there's something going on,' then at least there is something that could be done about it."
Hart hoped the research advances the understanding of why some people are more attracted to conspiracy theories than others.
But he said it was important to note that the study didn't address whether or not conspiracy theories are true.
"After Watergate, the American public learned that seemingly outlandish speculation about the machinations of powerful actors is sometimes right on the money," he said.
"And when a conspiracy is real, people with a conspiracist mindset may be among the first to pick up on it while others get duped.
"Either way, it is important to realise that when reality is ambiguous, our personalities and cognitive biases cause us to adopt the beliefs that we do.
"This knowledge can help us understand our own intuitions."
 

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Very interesting OT,

Thanks. :) I have long felt that belief in conspirators "controlling" everything from world events to the flow of info- even introduction of new diseases is a way for folks to cope with the sometimes overwhelming chaos of life.
 

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What research people get paid for....
There had always been people believing in conspiracy theories.
I don´t think it´s increasing but mankind is increasing and territories must be protected.
But the wwnet provided an echo room for them nowadays to share their feelings so we know about them.
Too many influencers around on the modern media.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That's pretty funny SiWolKe :D

There used to be a guy on this forum eventually got kicked off for his constant conspiracy theories, he and I often banged heads. He proposed that I didn't exist, but Oldtimer was actually a group of nefarious people trying to promote a particular agenda. Other people questioned him on that, and he said he was right because he could "detect" it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Not what you think.

The guy was constantly proposing bizzare explanations for all kinds of things. Sometimes when I couldn't take any more, i would jump in and propose what I believed to be the real story. In his paranoid mind, the guy started to believe that "they" were out to get him, in the form of a shadowy group going by the name Oldtimer.

I kid you not. Longer term members here will remember who I refer to. From memory i THINK his user name was WLC or something similar, he also used some aliases such as Victor.
 

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I met a conspiracy theorist, it was my former beekeepeing mentor.
First he hid it.
After some time when he started to trust us he showed me a passport which described him as a "friend to aliens" so when the aliens conquered the earth he and his wife would survive.
He only left the house when there were no chem trails because he believed government to drop down some tranquilizer so we would all be zombies obeying every order.
I got more and more afraid because we could not hide our thoughts and my husband is not one to hide his opinions ( like me ;))
Then a day came when he showed us his Ural motorbike with preparations made to carry a gun ( illegal here) to drive patrouille in the neighborhood.
He had a high wall around his property so one day I told my husband I would not go there anymore. I was afraid to be taken as "enemies" and never to be able to leave again. Or be poisoned by food because he could not influence us and might see us as nefarious, as you call it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sounds like ceasing contact with that guy was a good move SiWolKe. When paranoia is involved you just don't know what strange ideas they might get, you are safer out of it.
 

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wlc pushed his agenda harder than anyone else i've seen during my history here.

he was anti-agribusiness, and even claimed that the work randy oliver was putting out could not be trusted because he was in their pockets. absolutely ridiculous.

he kept 2 treatment free hives on the top of a high rise in metropolitan new york.

he once posted that he preferred 'varietal honey'...

to which i queried as to whether he more preferred 'red snow cone or blue snow cone?'

( a reference to the fact that the 'main flow' in urban new york is dumpster diving)

remember that one ot? :)

for the record, wlc was not kicked out and still retains valid membership privileges here. i'm guessing his paranoia got the best of him and he left voluntarily.
 

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i DO remember that SP. One day we should assemble a list of "quips by Squarepeg". There have been some good ones over the years. :D

Re WLC, i kinda miss the guy. Once he joined a thread there would be no more sense, and it could get really aggravating. But it was all worth it because of the funny moments that would every so often pop up. :)
 

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i THINK his user name was WLC or something similar, he also used some aliases such as Victor.
I remember he (Victor) used other peoples first name then he had a meltdown over being called Victor then Barry told us not to call him "victor" anymore lol. He alleged to have a huge plot of bean cultivars which turned out to be maybe a meter square of bean plants on the roof of a building, not to mention multiple phD's in stuff he couldn't talk about lol I remember he was a real pain in the butt and that between he and Ace the bs never ceased :pinch:
Vi
 

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Now now guys you better stop maligning these super intelligent people or else next time the Hail Bop comet comes around you had better watch out.
Johno
 

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We live in a world of self-optimization and constant competition.
Many people are overwhelmed with it. They can not keep up or have fatal experience in daily life, like being unemployed suddenly.

Normally one then reflects on the situation and in the best case one takes it with humor or one evaluates it as not so important.
But that has to be learned. You can also hate as a result.

Then you meet in the Net a power-obsessed leader of the somewhat absurd propaganda and you are in the community of those who have the fullest idea and pity the poor ignorant!
Such a thing builds up the self-confidence again, you do not need to take responsibility and you can look at yourself in the mirror again without hating yourself.
 

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Let me guess. Old-timer was inspired to post this because of the new release of the film First Man which, of course, is another attempt to make us believe there really were moon landings.
 

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These people tend to be more suspicious, untrusting, eccentric, needing to feel special, with a tendency to regard the world as an inherently dangerous place," said Josh Hart, an associate professor at Union College in the US.
ahh yes the harry potter effect
 

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Yes, but remember that sometimes bad people do get together to do bad things. Sometimes those bad people are governments, and everyone laughs at the ones who see it, maligns them, marginalizes them, maybe even throws them in jail or kill them. Then they are proven right.

No, I don't believe in chemtrails or that Obama was born in Kenya, but there are plenty of "conspiracy theories" that are either true or not too far off.
 
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