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Conspiracy Theorists Are Usually Just Lonely, Study Suggests

Are you 100 percent convinced that the Moon Landing was faked by the U.S. government?

Alternately, are you President Donald Trump?

Either way, you may simply be in need of a friend; this is the theory put forth by a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, which makes the claim that people who buy into elaborate conspiracy theories only do so because they’re really lonely.

“People think of conspiracy theorists as these weirdos,” Princeton psychologist and lead study suthor Alin Coman told Scientific American.

“Anybody could become entrenched in that kind of thinking if the right circumstances arise.”

Those circumstances, concluded Coman after a series of experiments, often involve ostracism. He theorizes that being alone in the world without any kind of support network increases a person’s likelihood of becoming superstitious and believing in conspiracy theories, largely because they are searching for more meaning in life.

In one experiment, study participants were tasked with writing about a recent unpleasant interaction with friends, a rating for their feelings of exclusion, their search for the meaning of life and how much they believe a handful of conspiracy theories. 

Those who reported being lonelier also demonstrated a greater desire to find meaning in life. They also tended to be more suspicious.

In another experiment, participants were made to feel excluded or included before reading about two situations that indicated conspiracies and another featuring a totally fabricated good-luck ritual. Participants who were made to feel excluded were more likely to believe the outcomes were influenced by the suggested behaviour.

All this to say, maybe consider going easy on your chemtrail-confident buddy - or simply ask him out for a drink every now and again. 

h/t Men's Health 


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