Study debunks conspiracy theorist stereotypes
By T.K. Randall
December 3, 2019 · 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."
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