Why people believe in conspiracy theories – and how to change their minds

Posted 23 August 2017

This article published in The Conversation, makes the following argument: “The simple answer is that facts and rational arguments really aren’t very good at altering people’s beliefs”. 

We often see this to be true on CamCheck, where facts simply will not alter people’s belief in a CAM, scam or other nonsense claim.

The author adds the following:

“Another reason we are so keen to believe in conspiracy theories is that we are social animals and our status in that society is much more important (from an evolutionary standpoint) than being right. Consequently we constantly compare our actions and beliefs to those of our peers, and then alter them to fit in. This means that if our social group believes something, we are more likely to follow the herd.”

And:

“A related issue is the ever-present confirmation bias, that tendency for folks to seek out and believe the data that supports their views while discounting the stuff that doesn’t. “

The author is Prof Mark Lorch, Professor of Science Communication and Chemistry, University of Hull.

Read the full article in The Conversation

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