The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"
The idea that a small group of conspirators are leading world affairs by filthy methods found its most devastating expression in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," an important work of modern anti-Semitism, and thus a sourcefrom Auschwitz.
Jews, Lizardmen and Merkel
Jews were one of the most popular objects for conspiracy fantasies, yet even reptiles who unrecognized theirIntrigue spiders can be found or Nazis who have survived the war under the Antarctic. At the moment, right-wing conspiracy fan Angela Merkel is responsible for every alleged evil.
Damaris Gräupner and Alin Coman of Princeton University have now discovered what drives conspiracy thinking - searching for meaning.
Excludes Find Meaning in Life
People who feel socially isolated are increasingly looking for meaning in their lives. But because they feel excluded, they also seek a cause for being excluded.
Conspiracy fantasies are magic thinking in that they suggest unconditional causality between unrelated things.
The prejudice is the father of the idea
The conspiracy believers have prejudices against people to whom they attribute a high status in society: politicians or very rich people.
Random patterns become related
Then they would place random patterns in a context that does not exist. In the 1980s, for example, the conspiracy theory was widespread that Philip Morris' support for KuKluxKlan was that the red and white patterns on the Marlboro box were three Ks.
The Outsider Study
Researchers first studied 119 people for how excluded they feel. The subjects had to describe an unpleasant situation in which friends had been involved. The scientists asked how excluded they felt.
The question of meaning
The next question was how much they longed for meaning, examining, for example, statements to the statement, "I am looking for a purpose or purpose in life".
The Question of Conspiracy
In the third part, scientists subtly asked for willingness to accept conspiracy theories, for example, whether and how the government seeks to manipulate citizens through messages below conscious awareness.
Excluded in the wake of the conspiracy fantasy
The more excluded the participants felt in the situation described, the more they sought meaning in life and the more they were taken by conspiracy theories.
A second study
Gräupner and Coman reviewed the results in a second study. For this they asked 102 subjects in groups of three in the laboratory.
At first they had to describe themselves, the researchers claimed that these statements would be the teams decide who they wanted to have with them. In fact, the researchers determined the teams.
Result: Those who were not included in the team felt excluded and increasingly seeking meaning.
Who believes in the plot?
Afterwards, the researchers presented three situations and asked the participants if the main character's luck or misfortune had come about through a secret conspiracy. And the result was that the non-team members believed much more in a conspiracy than the elected.
The scientists deduced from this a conclusion for society: Who feels marginalized, the conspiracy fantasies can expire and thus even further exclude.
Excluded Meeting Excluded
When these people, who feel marginalized but at the edge of society, encounter people who have the same problem.
Conspiracy theories confirm
They are now mutually reinforcing their superstition of the secret mastermind behind terrorist attacks or vaccination programs that are supposed to program people in the sense of a secret elite.
conspiracy theories run in a vicious cycle of exclusionary feelings, according to Coman. One possibility would be to involve those affected in a targeted manner in society.
A new study would be important to help consumers of pseudomedicine and placebos not recognized as such, if they are generally susceptible to conspiracy delusions.(Dr. Utz Anhalt)
The conspiracy believers' milieu is called "Lunatic Fringe" in the US: This crazy edge believes the moon landing never happened, the CIA would hide evidence of extraterrestrials in New Mexico, contrails of planes would be chemtrails, or measles vaccinesTrigger autism.
However, typical of these conspiracy ideologues is not that they just believe in plain nonsense. Rather, they are convinced that secret forces are behind a variety of happenings and realize a big plan.