Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Focusing on a contemporary conspiracy theory popularized in the novel The Da Vinci Code (Brown, 2002), we examined the underlying psychological factors and individual differences that may predict belief in conspiracy theories, and assessed such beliefs’ resistance to counterevidence. Our results suggest that belief in the Da Vinci Code conspiracy may be associated with coping with existential threat and death-related anxiety. In addition, the extent to which participants believed in the conspiracy was associated with the endorsement of congruent (New Age spiritual) and competing (Christian religious) beliefs, in opposite directions. Finally, exposure to counterevidence resulted in belief reduction, specifically among more religious participants (i.e. among those endorsing a competing belief system). We suggest that belief in modern conspiracy theories may help individuals attain or maintain a sense of meaning, control, and security.

Source: The functional nature of conspiracy beliefs: Examining the underpinnings of belief in the Da Vinci Code conspiracy” from Personality and Individual Differences

I also like this quote:

“Conspiracy theories are an irresistible labor saving device in the face of complexity.” — Harvard professor “Skip” Gates

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