Not normal people | 

People who believe in conspiracy theories just want to be unique, psychologists say

Rsearchers found that those who supported conspiracy theories were more likely to think they had information no one else had
People who believe the moon landings were fake just want to be different

People who believe the moon landings were fake just want to be different© AP

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

People who believe that the moon landings were faked, vaccines cause autism, and other conspiracy theories, just want to be unique, psychologists have revealed.

Two separate studies carried out into why believe in conspiracy theories found that the desire to stick out from the crowd drove irrational beliefs.

One of the studies contained in the European Journal of Social Psychology was entitled: “I know things they 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 a particular theory.

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

Another 1,000 participants took part in the second study, entitled “Too special to be duped”, which made similar findings.

This study revealed that 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.

A recent report in the Washington Post highlighted how conspiracy theories are playing a bigger role in US politics.

While such theories often simmered in fringe movements, “numerous elected officials, media figures and political candidates have embraced these theories in their campaigning and outreach,” the Post reported.

Referring to QAnon, which first appeared in late 2017 on a website called 4chan, The Post says it is known as a breeding ground for conspiratorial and violent rhetoric.

“Someone who claimed to be a government employee with a special security clearance called himself ‘Q Clearance Patriot’ and vowed to expose a ‘deep state’ cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles who allegedly control the US government,” the Post story states.


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