From "pizzagate" to 9/11, conspiracy theories are everywhere—and research shows they could be linked to things like stress or isolationby James McMahon / August 9, 2018 / Leave a comment
If you’ve suffered with a mental illness for long enough, chances are that at some point, you’ll begin to recognise patterns to your health.
When I am well, I am enthusiastic about the world. I like the world. I like myself.
When I’m not, I want to know everything there is to know about Chemtrails. The suspicious death of Kurt Cobain. I fear my extensive knowledge of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 would not be a hit at parties, even if I felt well enough to attend them.
Over twenty-plus years of zigzagging between relative happiness and obsessively Googling “why did the third tower collapse?,” I’ve come to wonder whether there’s a link between the two states of mind.
A recent study suggests that may be so. Early last year, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology published a report that suggests such interests, as well as superstition, may well be caused by ostracization.
A study was conducted in which subjects were asked to write about a falling out with a friend, as well as their search for meaning within their life. They were also asked to rate how excluded they felt.
Then, the participants were asked to rate their belief in two conspiracies: that drug companies withhold cures and that subliminal messages were used by the government to control its population.
Subjects were also asked if they believed in the pseudo-scientific theory that paranormal activity was rife in the western area of the north Atlantic Ocean known as the Bermuda Triangle.
The results showed that the more lonely people felt, the more they believed in both the conspiracies and in the idea of the supernatural.
In recent years it’s been suggested that stress plays its part in leading people to fringe beliefs, too. Professor Viren Swami, from Anglia Ruskin University, performed studies in 2016 that took 400 participants between 20 and 78 and asked whether they believed the 1969 moon landings had been faked.
Professor Swami also polled subjects as to whether they believed that Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated by the American government. He then assessed subjects’ stress levels—most significantly, stressful situations that might have occurred within their lives in the last six months.
The results showed that the…