Why do peo­ple be­lieve con­spir­a­cies?


Part of it is down to pro­por­tion­al­ity bias. It is a ten­dency of the hu­man brain to con­vince us that big events must have a big cause. Rather than ac­cept the sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion, it’s some­how eas­ier to be­lieve an elab­o­rate con­spir­acy.

Another fac­tor is pro­jec­tion bias. We think that other peo­ple think like us, and if we’re sus­pi­cious, or be­have sus­pi­ciously, we be­lieve that oth­ers will be hid­ing the truth too.

Then there’s con­fir­ma­tion bias. We’re much more likely to ac­cept ev­i­dence that agrees with our ex­ist­ing be­liefs than ev­i­dence that con­tra­dicts us. Once some­one gets in­vested in a con­spir­acy, they’ll be­come more and more con­vinced that it’s true.

We are more likely to ac­cept ev­i­dence if it agrees with be­liefs we al­ready have

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