The Psychology Behind Conspiracy Theories – Healthline – Healthline

Uncertain times are a breeding ground for misinformation.

It may seem like you’ve been inundated with conspiracy theories lately.

Whether it’s COVID-19 or election fraud, they seem to be everywhere. Social media, television, and even conversations with friends and loved ones seem saturated with misinformation.

A May 2020 online survey of 2,501 adults in England found that 25 percent of respondents believe unproven COVID-19 conspiracy theories.

A January 2021 poll of 1,239 U.S. voters found that 77 percent of Republican respondents believe there was widespread election fraud, despite courts ruling otherwise.

The truth is, conspiracy theories are nothing new.

In 2003, 40 years after the death of former President John F. Kennedy, an ABC News poll showed that 70 percent of people still believed the assassination was the result of a larger plot, and that convicted assassin Lee Harvey Oswald wasn’t acting alone.

Soon after the 1969 moon landing, theories began circulating that the whole thing was staged.

But as we saw with the riot on Capitol Hill on January 6, conspiracy theories aren’t just unproven (or disproven) ideas.

Allowing conspiracies to circulate can have deadly consequences. Five people, including one police officer, died when insurrectionists attempted the coup on the Capitol.

It’s natural and understandable to feel angry, frustrated, or