Factors that Encourage Acceptance of Conspiracy Theories

Factors that Encourage Acceptance of Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories are false assumptions that attempt to explain causes of events or phenomena by insinuating that individuals or groups of persons work secretly to manipulate those events for their personal gains. The conspiracy theories that rocked the whole world recently are those surrounding the causes and spread of COVID-19 as well as the development of its vaccine. Like other conspiracy theories, the ones surrounding COVID-19 found its way into different communities all over the world and caused a lot of controversies. Till date, these conspiracy theories are still preventing many people from going for COVID-19 vaccine.

Conspiracy theories, fortunately, can be beneficial as well. For instance, some of them expose problems in societies that need to be addressed. They also give citizens the opportunities to call the government to order and to curtail the activities of the “powerful” people that were believed to create problems for the people. However, their negative impacts outweigh their positive effects. For instance, religious wars and killings are fuelled by conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories have also led to prejudice, distrust, genocide, witch-hunt, and low participation in politics. This is why it is good to discourage the spread of such theories.

Kindly note that you can be tricked into believing conspiracy theories if you let your guards down. This is because conspiracy theorists manipulate people’s emotions by using special persuasion tricks. They study situations and people’s psychology and use them to fabricate theories that make their lies sound like truth. Since these theories provide illusions of control and safety, those that believe them resist any form of efforts made towards debunking them. This is to say that many of us believe in some conspiracy theories we assumed were the truth. This essay, however, focuses on internal and external factors that make people believe in conspiracy theories.

Factors that Encourage Acceptance of Conspiracies Theories

  1. Level of Education: Research has shown that the lower a person’s level of education is, the higher his chances of believing conspiracy theories. This is because those with higher education tend to think more critically and also have more information about concepts.
  2. Knowledge: A person that knows little or nothing about a concept or a phenomenon tends to believe whatever he hears about it, so long as it aligns with their ideologies.
  3. Information: The quality and quantity of information a person receives influence his susceptibility to conspiracy theories. A person that received little information about an event will believe fallacies about it. On the same hand, if the person is exposed to only negative information, he will also believe conspiracy theories.
  4. Thinking Styles: Many people think impulsively while others do theirs analytically. Those that don’t critically evaluate the information they receive tend to believe conspiracy theories easily.
  5. Experiences: People that have bad experiences are more likely to believe conspiracy theories than those that haven’t.
  6. Attitudes: People with certain attitudes are likely to believe conspiracy theories. For instance, people that never take responsibilities for their actions and those that don’t trust people easily have been discovered to believe conspiracy theories that blame others for their predicaments.
  7. Negative Emotions: Some emotions give room for conspiracy theories to thrive. Emotions such as fear, hope, worry, and surprise make people vulnerable and willing to believe whatever makes them feel safe and in control.
  8. Religiosity: Religion is a risk factor to conspiracy theory because it encourages unverifiable practices such as prophecies and esotericism. Religious fanatics, therefore, tend to believe religion-related conspiracy theories without verifying the evidence provided by the theorists.
  9. Social Class: The poorer a person is, the more he believes conspiracy theories. This is as a result of his economic challenges, poor education, and other external factors that threaten his existence. People at the lower class feel uncertain and unable to control their lives and future; as a result, conspiracy theories give them certainty.

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