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Everyone believes in at least one conspiracy theory, but this causes some to go overboard

No one is safe from conspiracy theories. Not even the Spanish artist is Miguel Bosé, who shared his particular fight against masks in networks. But, as we say, no one is safe from believing in them. For this reason, a team from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has carried out a new study on this topic.

“Everybody believes in at least one conspiracy theory,” explains sociologist Asbjørn Dyrendal.

“Everybody believes in at least one conspiracy theory,” explains NTNU sociologist Asbjørn Dyrendal. You don’t even have to believe it at all, with “a little”, he qualifies, that’s enough. Conspiracies can be of any kind, from the time a referee is bought, to the fact that the coronavirus is a government invention, to the fact that vaccines cause autism. “It is becoming increasingly clear that belief in conspiracy theories is part of normal human psychology and it is based on the necessary human capacities “, they explain in their research.

But what makes some people believe in more complicated conspiracies? That’s what Dyrendal and his team have tried to unravel.

We all believe in conspiracy theories

You may be thinking: but is believing that a referee is bought a conspiracy theory? Well, it isn’t. Not at all. Nevertheless, Dyrendal team explains in a press release that “the same mechanisms come into play when thoughts are built on themselves “.” And they become more ingrained conspiratorial beliefs. “That is, although they have nothing to do with it, the mechanisms that lead us to the two thoughts are the same.

But this is not only here. And it is that, according to these researchers, “people can also have degrees of conspiratorial thinking”. Obviously there is a big difference between thinking that a referee is bought and that the Earth is flat. And this is precisely where the shared traits that the Dyrendal team has found come in.

Predictors

The study, Science Alert adds, appears to have found four predictors that would make people more likely to believe conspiracy theories.

“In the current study, we tested the relationships between a predictor set validated centrals of belief in conspiracy theories, including schizotypal traits; paranormal beliefs, right-wing authoritarianism, orientation to social dominance and conspiracy mentality, “the researchers explain.

“The findings suggest that the effect of schizotypal traits on beliefs in conspiracy theories was completely mediated by several intermediate factors,” the team explains. That is schizotypal traits are not, by themselves, a predictor. In fact, the authors explain that no single trait can fully assure us that a person is going to be a faithful believer and defender of conspiracy theories. However, many small changes in the variables studied will tip the balance.

Conspiracy mentality, the strongest trait

These variables are orientation to the social domain; conspiracy mentality, paranormal beliefs and right-wing authoritarianism. The relationship between them would be as follows:

Conspiracy theoriesDyrendal et al., Personality and Individual Differences, 2021

Although of all these the strongest trait was the conspiracy mentality. And, as they point out from Science Alert, this aligns with studies in other countries. And we cannot forget that this study has been carried out in Norway, one of the countries with the highest egalitarian ideals.

Other features

Although each person is very different from the rest, that does not mean that certain patterns are repeated. In fact, there are “several common features that recur frequently,” Dyrendal said in the statement. But, What are these traits shared by people who believe in certain types of conspiracy theories?

It must be taken into account that they are characteristics that they do not have to occur in all cases, but they do tend to occur in people who are more likely to think that conspiracy theories exist. Also, the more features that are shared, the easier it is to end up being one of these people.

The study points out that people who believe in conspiracy theories “tend to have a little less education.” Furthermore, they tend to live “in societies that have less successful democracies, which influences trust in others and in the authorities.” On the other hand, the social environment also influences: “They belong to groups that feel they should have more power and influenceThey may also belong to “special political organizations or religious groups a little more often.”

And this does not end here, the list goes on: “They use intuition, their instinct, more often when making decisions.” Also, “they see connections more often than most people, too where such connections do not exist, and they are more likely to see the intention as the cause of the events, “they add in the statement.” They are a little more narcissistic and paranoid than others “and” get their information more often from social networks.

“We have noticed that conspiracy theorists are more likely to find your news sources on social media“, explains Dyrendal. This is due to the ease of social networks to create so-called echo chambers. Despite this, the fault is not with social networks itself, since there is nothing that makes us think that now more people believe conspiracy theories than ever before.

Gender

From the outside it may seem that men more often believe in these theories. However, Dyrendal’s team’s study points in another direction: there is no gender difference.

“When we look at a large number of different conspiracy theories, we found no gender differences reliable in the average scores “, indicates the main author of this study. Although it has been observed, for example, that” people who do not like equality and prefer hierarchy see themselves and their group as superior to the others, “indicates the researcher. For this reason,” they believe more in conspiracy theories that specifically deal with external groups.

Definitely, Believing even a little bit in a conspiracy theory is normal. It is within the expected. The problem is, rather, of those who believe that Bill Gates will control us all with the chip that the vaccines against the coronavirus carry.

The article Everyone believes in at least one conspiracy theory, but this causes some to go overboard was published in Hypertext.