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Study debunks conspiracy theorist stereotypes

By T.K. Randall
December 3, 2019 · Comment icon 21 comments

A belief in conspiracies is not that unusual. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Nick Youngson / ImageCreator
A new study has concluded that there is nothing out of the ordinary about believing in conspiracies theories.
The research, which was conducted by researchers at The Australian National University (ANU), involved looking through and analyzing over two billion comments posted on Reddit over 8 years.

The findings indicated that people who believe in conspiracy theories do not conform to the typical negative 'tin foil hat' stereotypes often seen in movies and TV shows.

Instead, most conspiracy theorists are ordinary people living ordinary lives.

"In the past before the rise of online forums like Reddit, we tended to only hear about the most extreme views, and those people tended to naturally be wary about talking to someone else about their beliefs," said study lead author Dr. Colin Klein.
"These massive online forums paint a very different picture."

"For example conspiracy theories about police abuse of power are common. That's not so crazy. These people might believe false things, but with good reason - because similar things have happened in the past."

"It's very easy to look at conspiracy theories and think they're super wacky, and the people who believe in them are crazy, but it's actually much more continuous with a lot of things we do every day."

"Low level theorising goes on a lot in everyday life, I'm inclined to think the stuff you see online is just a strong outgrowth of that."

Source: | Comments (21)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by Brok 4 years ago
Well, duh. People who have unorthodox views always get mocked and picked on by the masses. Of course people made those stereotypes up as part of their mocking based on how they view them.
Comment icon #13 Posted by jaylemurph 4 years ago
I’ve been to a lot of history department faculty meetings and have yet to run across a conspiridiot in one... —Jaylemurph 
Comment icon #14 Posted by DieChecker 4 years ago
This got me thinking... I'm not big on Reddit, but are not a lot of people pretty much posting anonymously? So then are they simply taking those poster's word they are "normal"?
Comment icon #15 Posted by AstralHorus 4 years ago
Ya, and people are always chasing karma so they feel like their opinion matters than other people. So that could sway stories 
Comment icon #16 Posted by GlitterRose 4 years ago
It's  not new that there are people into conspiracy theories.  What's new is how fast they can spread and to how many people with avenues like FB and 4Chan, purveyors like Alex Jones, etc.  There's just so much more that people are inundated, even if they're not seeking it out. They're gonna hear about every fringe wacko idea. 
Comment icon #17 Posted by Big Jim 4 years ago
A conspiracy theory is just an alternate explanation for observed phenomena.  It's how science and mankind in general has advanced.  It's only the coining of the term and the derisive use of it that has changed.  The people we now revere as great scientists and social movers have all, at one time, challenged the status quo with what were seen at the time as wild theories, imagination and even heresy.  Until there is proof, every explanation is a theory, some more plausible than others or more widely accepted, but technically equal in terms of proof.  The title of Conspiracy Theorist is of... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by jaylemurph 4 years ago
That’s an eloquent defense of people who think Jews are space aliens trying to take over the world.  —Jaylemurph 
Comment icon #19 Posted by Big Jim 4 years ago
You mean they're not? Honestly, I never heard of that one, so no defense intended.
Comment icon #20 Posted by jaylemurph 4 years ago
It’s a real one, all right: David Icke’s trash.  —Jaylemurph 
Comment icon #21 Posted by skliss 4 years ago
I think as they are disproven over and over again during a lifetime has something to do with it. Experience!

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