Conspiracy Theories Are More “Entertaining” Than The Truth — And This Helps Explain Why People Believe Them

By Emma Young Conspiracy theories stoke anxiety and uncertainty and can even threaten the health of those who espouse them. Take Covid-19 anti-vaxxers, for example, who put themselves at risk by refusing a vaccine. So given those negative consequences, it’s surprising that conspiracy theories are so prolific. Research shows that beliefs that other groups are colluding secretly to pursue malevolent goals (the definition of a conspiracy theory) are more common during times of crisis — like a global pandemic. Heightened anxiety is thought to lead people to (erroneously) believe that there are hostile forces at play. But now a paper in the British Journal of Psychology reveals another reason for why conspiracy theories can be appealing. Jan-Willem van Prooijen at the Free University Amsterdam and colleagues found that conspiracy theories provoke a stronger emotional reaction than relatively dull-but-true reality — and this encourages belief in them, especially for people who have the personality trait of being “sensation-seeking”. In two initial studies, participants read either a conspiratorial or an accurate story about the Notre Dame fire in Paris (which was in reality a tragic accident, but in the conspiratorial version was set on fire deliberately) or the death of the US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (who died by suicide in his cell, but in the conspiratorial version was ‘murdered’ by powerful people). Finally, all p...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: Cognition Media Source Type: blogs

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ConclusionsThe measure to overcome skepticism to participate was mainly possible due to building trust to key persons. More measure how to conduct studies in populations which are reluctant to participate in research will be discussed. To obtain results in times of crises it is necessary to get data as well in difficult to reach populations.
Source: The European Journal of Public Health - Category: General Medicine Source Type: research
CONCLUSIONS: Together, these strategies can promote social connectedness and help reduce anxiety, stress, and depression, which may help psychologists, policymakers, and the global community remain resilience in places where cases are still high while promoting adjustment and growth in communities that are now recovering and looking to the future.PMID:34369221 | DOI:10.1080/10615806.2021.1950695
Source: Anxiety, Stress, and Coping - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Source Type: research
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Jul 2;70(26):947-952. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7026e1.ABSTRACTIncreases in mental health conditions have been documented among the general population and health care workers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (1-3). Public health workers might be at similar risk for negative mental health consequences because of the prolonged demand for responding to the pandemic and for implementing an unprecedented vaccination campaign. The extent of mental health conditions among public health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, is uncertain. A 2014 survey estimated that there were nearly 250...
Source: MMWR Morb Mortal Wkl... - Category: Epidemiology Authors: Source Type: research
Although James Toussaint has never had COVID-19, the pandemic is taking a profound toll on his health. First, the 57-year-old lost his job delivering parts for a New Orleans auto dealership in spring 2020, when the local economy shut down. Then, he fell behind on his rent. Last month, Toussaint was forced out of his apartment when his landlord—who refused to accept federally funded rental assistance—found a loophole in the federal ban on evictions. Toussaint has recently had trouble controlling his blood pressure. Arthritis in his back and knees prevents him from lifting more than 20 pounds, a huge obstacle for...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized COVID-19 Source Type: news
Since the pandemic began, the think-piece economy has churned out countless articles about how our world—work, medical care, cities, transit, social interactions—will be different when it finally ends. But will we be different after the pandemic? Judging by the fact that a New York Times essay titled, “You Can Be a Different Person After the Pandemic” quickly became a meme this past spring, it’s safe to say lots of people have changed over the last year-plus. How the pandemic changed your life, of course, depends very much on how you lived before it. A childless white-collar worker who spent a...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized COVID-19 feature Magazine Public Health Source Type: news
A version of this article also appeared in theIt’s Not Just You newsletter. Sign up here to receive a new edition every Sunday. This week, we have a special Mental Health Awareness Month edition of It’s Not Just You. In addition to the piece below, you can read a guest essay from Ciara Alyse Harris, one of the stars of the hit musical, Dear Evan Hansen here. My dad, who was always intuitive, told us he saw that my little sister’s depression had returned when he printed photographs he’d taken of her. “I could see it in her eyes, like a ghost,” he said. It was an observation born of love a...
Source: TIME: Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Uncategorized It's Not Just You Source Type: news
Doctors told you that your COVID-19 virus infection cleared months ago. However, even though you no longer struggle to breathe, and your oxygen levels have returned to normal, something doesn’t feel right. In addition to constant headaches, you find yourself struggling with seemingly easy tasks. The fatigue you experience makes moving from the bed to the kitchen feel like an accomplishment. But most troubling for you is a feeling of dread, a nervousness so severe you can feel your heart pounding. Constant worries now keep you from sleeping at night. What are the mental health effects of COVID-19? We are still learnin...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Behavioral Health Coronavirus and COVID-19 Mental Health Prevention Stress Source Type: blogs
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