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(9,442 posts)
Tue Dec 7, 2021, 05:39 PM Dec 2021

What kind of people believe in conspiracy theories? And why?

I found this article to be very interesting considering all the conspiracy theories going around that are undermining logic, common sense, and facts.

The Psychology Behind Conspiracy Theories

Uncertain times are a breeding ground for misinformation.


“For some people, it’s a matter of pride,” Manly says. “There are certain people who, until the bitter end, will hold onto something that is not true because they don’t want to believe they’re wrong.” (Herman Cain Award winners come to mind)

They want to feel smart
Having information or knowledge that no one else has can naturally make us feel unique. A 2017 study indicates that people who believe in conspiracy theories need to feel unique by knowing “scarce information.”

“You’ll see that [desire] to be superior,” Manly says. “You have a sense that you’re elevated above other people, that you know something more. It’s the idea of, ‘I’m in the know, and you are not in the know.’” (I know people just like that)


35 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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What kind of people believe in conspiracy theories? And why? (Original Post) StarryNite Dec 2021 OP
Oh yes and all the facts are going to come out and be "revealed" someday Walleye Dec 2021 #1
Oh, I've heard that one a lot! StarryNite Dec 2021 #2
👀 underpants Dec 2021 #3
It gives some insight as to what makes them tick and how to deal with them. StarryNite Dec 2021 #6
BINGO!! One vote for Tyson... works for me..nt mitch96 Dec 2021 #12
Tyson is awesome! StarryNite Dec 2021 #25
+1 uponit7771 Dec 2021 #29
Weak, ignorant people who seek magical explanations to feed their paranoid hysteria bucolic_frolic Dec 2021 #4
Underling this, Peter Pomerantsev recently wrote: Torchlight Dec 2021 #5
Oh, that's good! StarryNite Dec 2021 #8
Great reference, here's more on "white jamming" traitorsgalore Dec 2021 #10
That's a very good article. Thank you. StarryNite Dec 2021 #19
I jumped on the Perot bandwagon, then back off as soon as he made himself a joke. I knew people brewens Dec 2021 #7
While I think it's good to understand these people it's much, much better if we can just abqtommy Dec 2021 #9
This I_UndergroundPanther Dec 2021 #11
It's way past time to count the cuckoos! Mopar151 Dec 2021 #17
Thank you for this. Maraya1969 Dec 2021 #13
You're welcome. I think it's helpful to understand their mindset. StarryNite Dec 2021 #20
Not all conspiracy theories are equal. milestogo Dec 2021 #14
Most who believe in big ones like flat Earth or 9/11 are just stupid Polybius Dec 2021 #15
The only conspiracy theory I subscribe to... Bucky Dec 2021 #16
You forgot Bob Dole. H2O Man Dec 2021 #23
as one does Bucky Dec 2021 #26
Hopefully! H2O Man Dec 2021 #35
That was my first reaction when I heard he'd died underpants Dec 2021 #32
Conspiracy theories used to be entertainment for many madville Dec 2021 #18
Yes, conspiracy theories can be entertaining. StarryNite Dec 2021 #22
I believe at least 1. KentuckyWoman Dec 2021 #21
I find that hard to believe too. StarryNite Dec 2021 #24
Denigrating Warren Commission critics is why CIA invented the term. Kid Berwyn Dec 2021 #28
Well now that's a whole other read. underpants Dec 2021 #30
Never mentioned are the NAZI ties to two Warren Commissioners. Kid Berwyn Dec 2021 #33
I remember when I thought the Moonies were crazies, but by today's standard of people Vinca Dec 2021 #27
Moon was a huge contributor to the Republicans. We have him to thank for Falwell underpants Dec 2021 #31
Great read. Good links. NPR had a story a few weeks ago about algorithms underpants Dec 2021 #34


(9,442 posts)
6. It gives some insight as to what makes them tick and how to deal with them.
Tue Dec 7, 2021, 05:51 PM
Dec 2021

"To assert conspiracy is to believe what you want when you are missing data to fully support what you want to believe."
~ Neil deGrasse Tyson


(3,302 posts)
5. Underling this, Peter Pomerantsev recently wrote:
Tue Dec 7, 2021, 05:49 PM
Dec 2021
...as a world view it grants those who subscribe to it certain pleasures: if all the world is a conspiracy, then your own failures are no longer all your fault. The fact that you achieved less than you hoped for, that your life is a mess – it’s all the fault of the conspiracy.
More importantly, conspiracy is a way to maintain control. In a world where even the most authoritarian regimes struggle to impose censorship, one has to surround audiences with so much cynicism about anybody’s motives, persuade them that behind every seemingly benign motivation is a nefarious, if impossible-to-prove, plot, that they lose faith in the possibility of an alternative, a tactic a renowned Russian media analyst called Vasily Gatov calls ‘white jamming’.


(13,556 posts)
7. I jumped on the Perot bandwagon, then back off as soon as he made himself a joke. I knew people
Tue Dec 7, 2021, 05:52 PM
Dec 2021

that couldn't be talked down though. They were noisy supporters too. I was waiting to see. I bought a bumper sticker I still have. I never got to the point of putting it on my truck. If those guys had one, what was left of it would still be on their truck if it was still running.


(14,118 posts)
9. While I think it's good to understand these people it's much, much better if we can just
Tue Dec 7, 2021, 05:54 PM
Dec 2021

Lock. Them. Up.!


(12,462 posts)
11. This
Tue Dec 7, 2021, 07:49 PM
Dec 2021

Inability to admit theyre wrong and the desire to be a exclusive " conspirasy club "and the need to be seen as someone who has rarified information is exactly what narcissists do to puff up thier snowflake ego.

I would love to see a study among conspirasy freaks and dark triad personality. I'd like to see statistics on how many conspirasy types are dark triad and how many are not. And what thier political orientation is.


(9,975 posts)
17. It's way past time to count the cuckoos!
Tue Dec 7, 2021, 11:49 PM
Dec 2021

In a very metadata sort of way A similar matrix for heavy metals / environmental toxins would be well.advised.


(16,829 posts)
14. Not all conspiracy theories are equal.
Tue Dec 7, 2021, 10:12 PM
Dec 2021

There truly are government coverups of certain truths, in the US and around the world.

The things that get swept into this category cover the whole range of credibility.


(15,363 posts)
15. Most who believe in big ones like flat Earth or 9/11 are just stupid
Tue Dec 7, 2021, 11:22 PM
Dec 2021

They can't comprehend that it would take 1,000's to cover up the latter, and millions the former.


(53,984 posts)
16. The only conspiracy theory I subscribe to...
Tue Dec 7, 2021, 11:43 PM
Dec 2021

The only conspiracy theory I subscribe to is the one about Ken Lay faking his death to get out from under the Enron scandal that would have sent him to prison. My money says that dude's sipping mai tais on the beach of some private island, along with Tupac and JFK Jr.


(182,716 posts)
32. That was my first reaction when I heard he'd died
Wed Dec 8, 2021, 10:58 AM
Dec 2021

Lay had a a lot of money to disappear. There was another Enron person who supposedly killed themselves and he was the one with all the info. I remember seeing ABC news reporting that this person - forgot his name- had recently been seen at his house unshaven and looking disheveled. Sounded like BS to me.

The other one was William Casey

William J. Casey, the Director of Central Intelligence until last February, whose role in the Iran-contra affair is under scrutiny in Congress, died of pneumonia yesterday in Glen Cove Community Hospital on Long Island. He was 74 years old. Mr. Casey died less than 24 hours after the first witness in Congressional hearings on the affair named him as having assisted in providing arms to Nicaraguan rebels after Congress forbade such support.



(7,408 posts)
18. Conspiracy theories used to be entertainment for many
Tue Dec 7, 2021, 11:54 PM
Dec 2021

I used to love Coast to Coast AM back before the internet, it was always all kinds of wild theories, “expert” interviews and nuts calling in, it was great entertainment.

JFK, Fake moon landing, Chem-trails, UFO cover-ups, Rosewell, Area 51, Bigfoot and Loch Ness type creatures, the secret Nazi base in Antarctica, etc.


(9,442 posts)
22. Yes, conspiracy theories can be entertaining.
Wed Dec 8, 2021, 12:01 AM
Dec 2021

But the ones that have the potential to destroy our democracy or kill people go way beyond entertainment.


(6,679 posts)
21. I believe at least 1.
Tue Dec 7, 2021, 11:58 PM
Dec 2021

I am an A student from a C school system in rural Kentucky. Not the smartest. Not stupid.

But no one will convince me Lee Harvey did it alone.

Kid Berwyn

(14,846 posts)
28. Denigrating Warren Commission critics is why CIA invented the term.
Wed Dec 8, 2021, 09:28 AM
Dec 2021
CIA memo: Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report

CIA Instructions to Media Assets

This document caused quite a stir when it was discovered in 1977. Dated 4/1/67, and marked "DESTROY WHEN NO LONGER NEEDED", this document is a stunning testimony to how concerned the CIA was over investigations into the Kennedy assassination. Emphasis has been added to facilitate scanning.

CIA Document #1035-960, marked "PSYCH" for presumably Psychological Warfare Operations, in the division "CS", the Clandestine Services, sometimes known as the "dirty tricks" department.

RE: Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report

1. Our Concern. From the day of President Kennedy's assassination on, there has been speculation about the responsibility for his murder. Although this was stemmed for a time by the Warren Commission report, (which appeared at the end of September 1964), various writers have now had time to scan the Commission's published report and documents for new pretexts for questioning, and there has been a new wave of books and articles criticizing the Commission's findings. In most cases the critics have speculated as to the existence of some kind of conspiracy, and often they have implied that the Commission itself was involved. Presumably as a result of the increasing challenge to the Warren Commission's report, a public opinion poll recently indicated that 46% of the American public did not think that Oswald acted alone, while more than half of those polled thought that the Commission had left some questions unresolved. Doubtless polls abroad would show similar, or possibly more adverse results.

2. This trend of opinion is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization. The members of the Warren Commission were naturally chosen for their integrity, experience and prominence. They represented both major parties, and they and their staff were deliberately drawn from all sections of the country. Just because of the standing of the Commissioners, efforts to impugn their rectitude and wisdom tend to cast doubt on the whole leadership of American society. Moreover, there seems to be an increasing tendency to hint that President Johnson himself, as the one person who might be said to have benefited, was in some way responsible for the assassination. Innuendo of such seriousness affects not only the individual concerned, but also the whole reputation of the American government. Our organization itself is directly involved: among other facts, we contributed information to the investigation. Conspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization, for example by falsely alleging that Lee Harvey Oswald worked for us. The aim of this dispatch is to provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries. Background information is supplied in a classified section and in a number of unclassified attachments.

3. Action. We do not recommend that discussion of the assassination question be initiated where it is not already taking place. Where discussion is active addresses are requested:

a. To discuss the publicity problem with and friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors) , pointing out that the Warren Commission made as thorough an investigation as humanly possible, that the charges of the critics are without serious foundation, and that further speculative discussion only plays into the hands of the opposition. Point out also that parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by Communist propagandists. Urge them to use their influence to discourage unfounded and irresponsible speculation.

b. To employ propaganda assets to and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose. The unclassified attachments to this guidance should provide useful background material for passing to assets. Our ploy should point out, as applicable, that the critics are (I) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in, (II) politically interested, (III) financially interested, (IV) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or (V) infatuated with their own theories. In the course of discussions of the whole phenomenon of criticism, a useful strategy may be to single out Epstein's theory for attack, using the attached Fletcher article and Spectator piece for background. (Although Mark Lane's book is much less convincing that Epstein's and comes off badly where confronted by knowledgeable critics, it is also much more difficult to answer as a whole, as one becomes lost in a morass of unrelated details.)

4. In private to media discussions not directed at any particular writer, or in attacking publications which may be yet forthcoming, the following arguments should be useful:

a. No significant new evidence has emerged which the Commission did not consider. The assassination is sometimes compared (e.g., by Joachim Joesten and Bertrand Russell) with the Dreyfus case; however, unlike that case, the attack on the Warren Commission have produced no new evidence, no new culprits have been convincingly identified, and there is no agreement among the critics. (A better parallel, though an imperfect one, might be with the Reichstag fire of 1933, which some competent historians (Fritz Tobias, AJ.P. Taylor, D.C. Watt) now believe was set by Vander Lubbe on his own initiative, without acting for either Nazis or Communists; the Nazis tried to pin the blame on the Communists, but the latter have been more successful in convincing the world that the Nazis were to blame.)

b. Critics usually overvalue particular items and ignore others. They tend to place more emphasis on the recollections of individual witnesses (which are less reliable and more divergent--and hence offer more hand-holds for criticism) and less on ballistics, autopsy, and photographic evidence. A close examination of the Commission's records will usually show that the conflicting eyewitness accounts are quoted out of context, or were discarded by the Commission for good and sufficient reason.

c. Conspiracy on the large scale often suggested would be impossible to conceal in the United States, esp. since informants could expect to receive large royalties, etc. Note that Robert Kennedy, Attorney General at the time and John F. Kennedy's brother, would be the last man to overlook or conceal any conspiracy. And as one reviewer pointed out, Congressman Gerald R. Ford would hardly have held his tongue for the sake of the Democratic administration, and Senator Russell would have had every political interest in exposing any misdeeds on the part of Chief Justice Warren. A conspirator moreover would hardly choose a location for a shooting where so much depended on conditions beyond his control: the route, the speed of the cars, the moving target, the risk that the assassin would be discovered. A group of wealthy conspirators could have arranged much more secure conditions.

d. Critics have often been enticed by a form of intellectual pride: they light on some theory and fall in love with it; they also scoff at the Commission because it did not always answer every question with a flat decision one way or the other. Actually, the make-up of the Commission and its staff was an excellent safeguard against over-commitment to any one theory, or against the illicit transformation of probabilities into certainties.

e. Oswald would not have been any sensible person's choice for a co-conspirator. He was a "loner," mixed up, of questionable reliability and an unknown quantity to any professional intelligence service.

f. As to charges that the Commission's report was a rush job, it emerged three months after the deadline originally set. But to the degree that the Commission tried to speed up its reporting, this was largely due to the pressure of irresponsible speculation already appearing, in some cases coming from the same critics who, refusing to admit their errors, are now putting out new criticisms.

g. Such vague accusations as that "more than ten people have died mysteriously" can always be explained in some natural way e.g.: the individuals concerned have for the most part died of natural causes; the Commission staff questioned 418 witnesses (the FBI interviewed far more people, conduction 25,000 interviews and re interviews), and in such a large group, a certain number of deaths are to be expected. (When Penn Jones, one of the originators of the "ten mysterious deaths" line, appeared on television, it emerged that two of the deaths on his list were from heart attacks, one from cancer, one was from a head-on collision on a bridge, and one occurred when a driver drifted into a bridge abutment.)

5. Where possible, counter speculation by encouraging reference to the Commission's Report itself. Open-minded foreign readers should still be impressed by the care, thoroughness, objectivity and speed with which the Commission worked. Reviewers of other books might be encouraged to add to their account the idea that, checking back with the report itself, they found it far superior to the work of its critics.

Copy of actual memo: http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=24678&search=concerning_criticism+of+the+warren+report#relPageId=1&tab=page

The Might Wurlitzer played an Oswald Did It tune while the story of CIA bigwigs in bed with Mafia Murder Inc. was never mentioned.

Kid Berwyn

(14,846 posts)
33. Never mentioned are the NAZI ties to two Warren Commissioners.
Wed Dec 8, 2021, 10:58 AM
Dec 2021

Curiously missing from American history and any mention of the Warren Commission in corporate media:

Two of its members were directly responsible for the rise of post-war fascism. Allen Dulles, as a top official of the OSS and CIA, incorporated NAZI war criminals into the CIA from its founding. John McCloy, as High Commissioner for Germany, allowed Klaus Barbie, Alfred Krupp and eight members of his board, and who-knows-who-else to escape justice. Of course, Dulles and McCloy also were barons of Wall Street and Beltway Insiders, at the heart of the military industrial complex. We all can see what that means for the United States today.


The American who let the Nazis rebuild Germany


CIA and NAZI War Criminals



(50,248 posts)
27. I remember when I thought the Moonies were crazies, but by today's standard of people
Wed Dec 8, 2021, 09:16 AM
Dec 2021

residing in Dallas carrying signs featuring JFK in a MAGA hat around, the Moonies are nothing. Watching the news coverage of a Christmas parade down there was mind boggling. Women who could be anyone's granny proudly toting those signs and believing JFK and his son would reappear and would then reinstate Trump in the White House. That's not just belief in a conspiracy theory, that's full-blown psychosis.


(182,716 posts)
31. Moon was a huge contributor to the Republicans. We have him to thank for Falwell
Wed Dec 8, 2021, 10:52 AM
Dec 2021

Moon floated Falwell a ridiculously low rate on a loan to keep Liberty U going. Falwell was bleeding money. Moon wanted a religious conservative voice on the new 24 hour news and he knew he wouldn’t sell to white America. Falwell was perfect for this but making him SUCCESSFUL lead to credibility.

Moon also was the reason for “Gays” being in Less Atwater’s “God Guns and Gays” pillar of the Reagan Revolution.


(182,716 posts)
34. Great read. Good links. NPR had a story a few weeks ago about algorithms
Wed Dec 8, 2021, 11:14 AM
Dec 2021

If people are curious about let’s say QAnon and go looking on Facebook or YouTube the algorithms think they want to see information and deluge them with it. You could just be looking for background or the basics but suddenly you can’t get away from it.

My wife and I watched the 5 or 6 part documentary on the Watkins (highly recommended) and poor Fred. If we’d used the YouTube channel to watch it we’d probably get Q stuff pop up on it left and right. People indoctrinate themselves into it via the algorithms.

There’s an old truism in sales about introducing a product. After 16 times of seeing a product (or idea) the chances of buying increase dramatically. This is why people who watch a certain show on a TV network will tend to watch other shows on that same network- they see ads for the shows as they watch their preferred show. Hey! That looks interesting! We used to watch the Runway show in Bravo and watched lots of other shows on Bravo because of it. When Runway went to Lifetime I don’t think we’ve watched Bravo since. Rupert Murdoch way over bought the NFL at the early point of Fox TV and used it to promote other shows. It worked.

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