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02/22/2016 / By Tara Paras
For years, people have denounced conspiracy theorists as mere lunatics who advocate preposterous ideas to the masses. Now, however, recent studies by psychologists and social media scientists have proven that these “conspiracy theorists” actually appear to be saner than people who blindly accept what the mainstream media propagates.
A recent study published in 2013 by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas of the University of Kent, entitled “‘What about Building 7?’ A Social Psychological Study of Online Discussion of 9/11 Conspiracy Theories,” compared “conspiracists,” those who are pro-conspiracy, and “conventionalists,” those who are anti-conspiracy. By analyzing comments on news websites, the researchers were surprised to find out that more people actually leave so-called conspiracist comments than conventional ones.
“Of the 2174 comments collected, 1459 were coded as conspiracist and 715 as conventionalist,” the researchers wrote.
As observed in news websites, more and more people nowadays favor opinions which discount official government accounts of controversial events, such as the 9/11 attacks and the JFK assassination. Given this scenario, it seems the tables have been turned — pro-conspiracy commenters are now expressing what can be deemed conventional wisdom, while anti-conspiracy commenters have been relegated to the minority.
The researchers also noted that anti-conspiracy commenters were more aggressive in trying to persuade people to accept their “official version” of events. In particular, those who believe the government’s account of the 9/11 tragedy — which pointed at Osama bin Laden, who was on dialysis and living in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan at the time of the attacks, as the conspirator behind the attacks — were not just hostile, but fanatically attached to their beliefs, as well.
As reported by Veterans Today, the study by Wood and Douglas has now painted us a completely different picture — the negative stereotype of a conspiracy theorist, that of a hostile fanatic, now more “accurately describes the people who defend the official account of 9/11” and not those who dispute it.
In addition to the aforementioned observations, the study also found that conspiracy theorists really don’t like to be labeled as such.
As mentioned in Conspiracy Theory in America, a book by political scientist Lance deHaven-Smith, “The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited, unfortunately, with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.”
He further claimed that those who use the term as an insult are doing so as the result of a conspiracy by the CIA to cover up the JFK assassination.
Is this another conspiracy theory? Well, we could only speculate…
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