Conspiracy Theories seem everywhere these days. How about the psychology of how they work? In this episode, I’ll explore how they work and why they work.
Conspiracy theories are explanations that refer to hidden groups working in secret to achieve sinister objectives.
Personality traits such as openness to experience, distrust, low agreeability, and Machiavellianism are associated with conspiracy belief.
Circumstances and Psychological background
They are likely more alienated and socially isolated
Low self esteem
Driven by people not facts
We look for patterns
We look for certainty
We look for control
Conspiracy theories make a person feel special (more informed than others) not sheeple. They have woken up and aren’t in the matrix of sleep that most people are.
Triggered by loss of control
Appeal to identity
Appeal to fears/anger
Claim expertise – authority trappings and social proof
Counter intuitive – scaracity
Strong headlines / vivid photos
Take out of context
To help a person out of a conspiracy theory
Provide alternative examples
Agree with agreeables
Increase analytical thinking
Ask questions and challenge evidence, source, evidence of source, and conclusion drawn.
Focus on their defence not attack
Get them to look at contradictions in the evidence
Focus on probabilities