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People Who Overestimate Their Political Knowledge Are More Likely to Believe Conspiracy Theories

When you think of a person who believes in conspiracy theories, you probably imagine some crazy person wearing a tinfoil hat. But in fact, you should imagine an arrogant know-it-all.

According to a new study in the European Journal for Social Psychology, the people most likely to believe in conspiracy theories are not the politically uninformed or unaware, but rather people with an interest and knowledge in politics who overestimate how much they truly know about the subject. Essentially people who overestimate their knowledge on political subjects are more prone to extreme beliefs because they believe their opinions are superior to others and won't acknowledge or consider opposing views. 

The study looked at nearly 400 people and asked them to rate themselves on how well they knew politics. The subjects who answered that they knew a lot about politics were more likely to believe conspiracies such as the U.S. government creating the AIDS virus or that Princess Diana's death was actually an assassination. 

Furthermore, the study actually found that people who believed themselves to be politically informed and also supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election were even more prone to believe conspiracy theories. This is supposedly in line with other research and theories that show that people who support losing causes are often more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.

This study does suggest a possible way to convince people that their conspiracy theories are wrong. Since they're overconfident in their political knowledge, if you expose the true limitations of their understanding, it will deflate their ego and lead to them questioning if their beliefs are actually true.

Of course, that's exactly what the government wants you to believe so they can continue hiding their alien experiments.

(h/t PsyPost)


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