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Field Guide to the Conspiracy Theorist: Dark Minds
Posted: 14 March 2017 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]
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In this post ‘truth’ environment, it seems that more and more brains are disconnecting from the struggle to make sense of reality - instead satisfying themselves by withdrawing to the comfort of their own minds nested in a protective shell against inconvenient outside truths, er, realities.

When does incredulity become paranoia?
Radio personality and filmmaker Alex Jones believes an evil cabal of bankers rules the world.
By John Gartner Ph.D., published on September 1, 2009
https://www[DOT]psychologytoday[DOT]com/articles/200909/field-guide-the-conspiracy-theorist-dark-minds

... We’re all conspiracy theorists to some degree. We’re all hardwired to find patterns in our environment, particularly those that might represent a threat to us. And when things go wrong, we find ourselves searching for what, or who, is behind it.

In his 1954 classic, The Paranoid Style in American Politics, historian Richard Hofstadter hypothesized that conspiracy thinking is fueled by underlying feelings of alienation and helplessness. Research supports his theory. New Mexico State University psychologist Marina Abalakina-Paap has found that people who endorse conspiracy theories are especially likely to feel angry, mistrustful, alienated from society, and helpless over larger forces controlling their lives.
...
Information is the conspiracy theorists’ weapon of choice because if there’s one thing they all agree on, it’s that all the rest of us have been brainwashed. The “facts” will plainly reveal the existence of the conspiracy, they believe. And while all of us tend to bend information to fit our pre-existing cognitive schema, conspiracy theorists are more extreme. 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, and brain chemistry may play a role. Dopamine rewards us for noting patterns and finding meaning in sometimes-insignificant events. It’s long been known that schizophrenics overproduce 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. ...

John Gartner is an author and PT blogger. Read his blog now: The Roving Psychologist.

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)

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Posted: 14 March 2017 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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On a slightly related note.

Clinton vs. Trump: Talking to the Reptilian Brain
The messages that stick paint a picture that trigger emotion and instinct
Posted Oct 11, 2016

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/positively-media/201610/clinton-vs-trump-talking-the-reptilian-brain

Why does Donald Trump do well in the post-debate analysis when he doesn’t answer questions, repeatedly goes off topic, and refers to things that are incorrect or irrelevant? Why doesn’t Hillary Clinton emerge with a clear advantage when she answers questions, is fairly accurate and, for the most part, stays on point and doesn’t get too nasty? The answer lies in the reptilian brain—the part of the brain that filters messaging. The messages that stick are those that trigger instinct and emotion.

The Economist ran a cartoon a couple of weeks ago that summed it up for me. The cartoon had Clinton explaining how something needed careful analysis and thoughtful consideration. I don’t remember the words. Trump’s bubble said “Loser.” And that’s what I remember.

The winner of a debate is the one who paints the most pictures that make us feel something, independent of context or reason. The key is HOW they message, not WHAT they say. I’m not talking politics, except insofar as this impacts voting results. I’m not picking sides. I’m talking about the way our brains work. ...

Whether you like it or not, Trump is just a better picture painter. He makes pictures that trigger emotion. Even if you don’t agree with what he’s saying or even if what he’s saying has nothing to do with the question at hand, he paints an image that sticks—most often one that is a threat to the listener’s existence. Trump lays the blame for the fear and uncertainty on Clinton or elsewhere. It makes no sense, of course, but our brain doesn’t care; it is scared and wants to feel safe again. Trump doesn’t even have to say he’s the answer.

The inner working of the human brain and the neural processing that result in our thoughts, feelings and actions is complex. ...

Who knows, maybe there’s some interesting conversation potential here . . .

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Posted: 14 March 2017 09:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Weirdly enough one of the more interesting articles I’ve ran through this morning comes from of all places the DailyMail

Believe in conspiracy theories? You’re probably a narcissist: People who doubt the moon landings are more likely to be selfish and attention-seeking

Psychologists from the University of Kent carried out three online studies

Hundreds of people completed questionnaires on conspiracy beliefs
They showed conspiracies are likely to be attractive to narcissists
But while low self-esteem, narcissism and belief in conspiracies are strongly linked, it is not clear that one causes the other, they add

By Ryan O’Hare for MailOnline
PUBLISHED: 12:26 EDT, 8 March 2016

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Posted: 14 March 2017 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The only problem with all of this, is that often times the so called conspiracy turns out to be true. So it’s also wrong to just write off every conspiracy as wacko. What perpetrators know too is that people tend to write off conspiracies because they don’t want to be considered nutjobs. So the perps purposely engage operatives to get the word out so to speak that something they’re doing IS a conspiracy.

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Posted: 15 March 2017 03:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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CuthbertJ - 14 March 2017 10:51 AM

The only problem with all of this, is that often times the so called conspiracy turns out to be true. So it’s also wrong to just write off every conspiracy as wacko. What perpetrators know too is that people tend to write off conspiracies because they don’t want to be considered nutjobs. So the perps purposely engage operatives to get the word out so to speak that something they’re doing IS a conspiracy.

Which conspiracies have turned out to be true?

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Posted: 15 March 2017 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Citizenschallenge-v.3 - 14 March 2017 09:21 AM

Weirdly enough one of the more interesting articles I’ve ran through this morning comes from of all places the DailyMail

Believe in conspiracy theories? You’re probably a narcissist: People who doubt the moon landings are more likely to be selfish and attention-seeking

Psychologists from the University of Kent carried out three online studies

Hundreds of people completed questionnaires on conspiracy beliefs
They showed conspiracies are likely to be attractive to narcissists
But while low self-esteem, narcissism and belief in conspiracies are strongly linked, it is not clear that one causes the other, they add

By Ryan O’Hare for MailOnline
PUBLISHED: 12:26 EDT, 8 March 2016

Narcissism levels, et al probably depend more on the conspiracy theory. Also studies like these need to be carried out in different countries and compared, because Nations have differing"temperments”.

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Posted: 15 March 2017 07:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Beltane - 15 March 2017 03:45 PM
CuthbertJ - 14 March 2017 10:51 AM

The only problem with all of this, is that often times the so called conspiracy turns out to be true. So it’s also wrong to just write off every conspiracy as wacko. What perpetrators know too is that people tend to write off conspiracies because they don’t want to be considered nutjobs. So the perps purposely engage operatives to get the word out so to speak that something they’re doing IS a conspiracy.

Which conspiracies have turned out to be true?

Gulf of Tonkin, US Gov experimenting with psychedelic drugs on unwilling subjects, US Gov selling arms to enemies, CIA overthrowing Iran/1953, US Gov overthrowing numerous democratically elected presidents of South American countries, and on and on. In each of these cases, at the time, these were considered “just a bunch of hogwash conspiracies”. Except that they turned out to be true. Of course in retrospect we just consider them history. But at the time, they were conspiracies.

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Posted: 15 March 2017 08:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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That’s all a long way from the bullshit Alex Jones spreads.

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Posted: 16 March 2017 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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DarronS - 15 March 2017 08:13 PM

That’s all a long way from the bullshit Alex Jones spreads.

Definitely. I mean there’s conspiracy that can be tied to some kind of reality at the time, and then there’s just made up crap, like Obama wiretapping Drumpf Tower. I do think though that the likes of Bannon and Drumpf know the value of conspiracy theories, legit or illegit, and work them to their own advantage. And the problem with Alex Jones types is that they mix their utter crap with other things that aren’t so ridiculous, so as to confuse things all the more.

[ Edited: 16 March 2017 10:20 AM by CuthbertJ ]
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Posted: 16 March 2017 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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CuthbertJ - 15 March 2017 07:53 PM
Beltane - 15 March 2017 03:45 PM
CuthbertJ - 14 March 2017 10:51 AM

The only problem with all of this, is that often times the so called conspiracy turns out to be true. So it’s also wrong to just write off every conspiracy as wacko. What perpetrators know too is that people tend to write off conspiracies because they don’t want to be considered nutjobs. So the perps purposely engage operatives to get the word out so to speak that something they’re doing IS a conspiracy.

Which conspiracies have turned out to be true?

Gulf of Tonkin, US Gov experimenting with psychedelic drugs on unwilling subjects, US Gov selling arms to enemies, CIA overthrowing Iran/1953, US Gov overthrowing numerous democratically elected presidents of South American countries, and on and on. In each of these cases, at the time, these were considered “just a bunch of hogwash conspiracies”. Except that they turned out to be true. Of course in retrospect we just consider them history. But at the time, they were conspiracies.

None of those were ever conspiracy theory-level stuff except perhaps gulf of Tonkin.

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Posted: 16 March 2017 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I agree with Beltane here. Conspiracies and conspiracy theories are not synonymous. The first is a group of people works my together secretly and usually illegally. The second is a nearly paranoid delusion that government agents committed atrocities and managed to cover them up, or in the case of Moon Landing Hoaxers the government pulled off an elaborate and the impossible hoax on the public.

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Posted: 16 March 2017 06:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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DarronS - 16 March 2017 06:22 PM

Conspiracies and conspiracy theories are not synonymous.

Yes, it is so annoying that the people engaged in conspiracies do not advertise so that the defective theories can be easily eliminated.

But then if you just try to resolve something on the basis of physics you are accused of being disingenuous for not subscribing to some conspiracy theory without having sufficient data.

psik

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Physics is Phutile
Fiziks is Fundamental
Since 9/11 Physics has been History

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Posted: 16 March 2017 07:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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psikeyhackr - 16 March 2017 06:38 PM
DarronS - 16 March 2017 06:22 PM

Conspiracies and conspiracy theories are not synonymous.

Yes, it is so annoying that the people engaged in conspiracies do not advertise so that the defective theories can be easily eliminated.

But then if you just try to resolve something on the basis of physics you are accused of being disingenuous for not subscribing to some conspiracy theory without having sufficient data.

psik

Your constant bleating about the 9/11 conspiracy got tiresome a decade ago. Take your cardboard and washers and go home.

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Posted: 17 March 2017 12:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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DarronS - 16 March 2017 07:27 PM

our constant bleating about the 9/11 conspiracy got tiresome a decade ago.

Please provide a link to what I have said about a conspiracy and to one of a good collapse model, either real or virtual.  LOL

Accusing me of “Bleating” is just more psychological “BS”.

psik

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Physics is Phutile
Fiziks is Fundamental
Since 9/11 Physics has been History

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Posted: 17 March 2017 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I’m not going there. This thread is not about you and your paranoid delusion, although you are a good example of the difference between a real conspiracy and conspiracy theory.

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Posted: 17 March 2017 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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DarronS - 17 March 2017 06:44 AM

I’m not going there.

Why really stupid theories are not resolved.

My psychological theory is that some people are VERY AFRAID a Conspiracy Theory MIGHT BE TRUE.

The Laws of Physics DO NOT GIVE A DAMN!

http://psikeyhackr.livejournal.com/1276.html

psik

[ Edited: 21 March 2017 03:07 PM by psikeyhackr ]
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Physics is Phutile
Fiziks is Fundamental
Since 9/11 Physics has been History

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