PSYCHOLOGY OF “DENIERS”
They are “immune to evidence,” discounting contradictory information or seeing it as “proof of how clever the enemy is at covering things up,” Goertzel says.
Conspiracy theories exist on a spectrum from mild suspicion to full-on paranoia, andbrain chemistry may play a role. Dopaminerewards us for noting patterns and finding meaning in sometimes-insignificant events. It’s long been known thatschizophrenicsoverproduce dopamine. “The earliest stages of delusion are characterized by an overabundance of meaningful coincidences,” explain Paul D. Morrison and R.M. Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London. “Jumping to conclusions” is a common reasoning style among the paranoid, find Daniel Freeman and his colleagues, also at the Institute of Psychiatry.
SELF EVALUATION FOR TENDENCY FOR BEING A “DENIER” (“FACT IMMUNITY”: IMMUNE TO EVIDENCE)
Connect the Dots
How susceptible are you to conspiracy beliefs? Rate your agreement with the statements below, from 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree.
For the most part, government serves the interests of a few organized groups, such as business, and isn’t very concerned about the needs of people like myself.I have trouble doing what I want to do in the world today.It is difficult for people like myself to have much influence in public affairs.We seem to live in a pretty irrational and disordered world.I don’t trust that my closest friends would not lie to me.
Answer key: 5-11: weakly, 12-18: moderately, 19-25: strongly (Adapted from a scale developed by Patrick Leman)