Psychologists say people who believe in conspiracy theories just want to be unique

People who believe the moon landings were fake, vaccines cause autism and other conspiracy theories simply want to be unique, psychologists have uncovered.

Two separate studies into why people believe in conspiracy theories found that a desire to stand out from the crowd led to irrational beliefs.

One of the studies published in the European Journal of Social Psychology was entitled: “I know things you don’t know!”

More than 1,000 people took part, and researchers found that those who supported conspiracy theories were more likely to think they had information no one else had.

They also discovered that those who wanted to be more unique were also more likely to believe in a particular theory.

“These studies suggest that conspiracy theories may serve people’s desire to be unique and highlight a motivational underpinning of conspiracy belief,” the team, led by Anthony Lantian of the University of Grenoble Alps in France, said in their paper.

Another 1,000 participants took part in the second study, titled Too special to be duped, which found similar results.

This study found that people who wanted to be unique were more likely to believe and endorse conspiracy theories. They also found that a made-up conspiracy theory received more support when participants were told that only a minority of people believed it.

“Taken together, these results support the notion that conspiracy beliefs can be embraced as a means of attaining a sense of uniqueness,” wrote authors Roland Imhoff and Pia Karoline Lamberty of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany.

A recent report in the Washington Post highlighted how conspiracy theories are playing an increasingly important role in US politics.

While such theories often simmered in fringe movements, “numerous elected officials, members of the media and political candidates have incorporated these theories into their campaigning and public relations,” the Post reported.

Regarding QAnon, which first appeared on a website called 4chan in late 2017, The Post says it is known as a hotbed of conspiratorial and violent rhetoric.

“Someone claiming to be a government employee with special security clearance dubbed themselves ‘Q Clearance Patriot’ and vowed to expose a ‘deep state’ cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who allegedly control the US government,” reads in the story of the post.

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/people-who-believe-in-conspiracy-theories-just-want-to-be-unique-psychologists-say-41860833.html Psychologists say people who believe in conspiracy theories just want to be unique

Fry Electronics Team

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