People can choose which truths they want to believe

Why do these people believe in conspiracies, of all things, which are often completely confused?

There are different approaches in research. The most prominent and oldest explanation is that a loss of control makes people believe more strongly in conspiracies. So a situation in which I feel powerless, in which I don't know what will happen next. Such as the corona pandemic or a personal crisis such as a separation, the loss of a job or an illness. When I am objectively unable to influence what is happening, I try to find ways to deal with it. Belief in conspiracies structures and orders the world. There is also a “conspirator” on whom you can project everything. At first this is easier to bear than the chaos and the loss of control.

Are there other reasons to believe in conspiracies?

In our studies and in the work of other colleagues, it has been shown that conspiracy beliefs can satisfy a need for uniqueness. This means that you can exaggerate yourself and convey the feeling of being special because you have secret knowledge about which the “naive” rest of humanity knows nothing. This phenomenon can be observed well on social media, when conspiracy ideologues present their theses very loudly and confidently. These are not people who have to compensate for their loss of control.

How do you deal with a conspiracy ideologist when you meet him?

It depends: When you meet him on the Internet, you shouldn't believe that you can change this person's mind with good fact research. It is important to understand the psychology behind this because it is not about the fact that this person is not able to process facts. For him, the belief in conspiracies has an identity function. Nevertheless, I think it is important to make conspiracy tales recognizable and classify, if only for the quiet readers.