A verdade está correndo por aí: por conspiracións estender máis rápido que nunca

The truth is rushing out there: why conspiracies spread faster than ever

de 9/11 aos ataques París, de Ébola para Isis, cada gran evento global atrae unha contra-narrativa correspondente a partir dos truthers ', algúns tan ampla que teñen sobre a vida das persoas. Son os nosos cerebros Wired para crer, como un novo libro argumenta? E podería tal pensar realmente ser beneficioso?


Alimentado por Guardian.co.ukEste artigo titulado “A verdade está correndo por aí: por conspiracións estender máis rápido que nunca” foi escrito por David Shariatmadari, para o The Guardian o 26 de decembro sábado 2015 10.00 Tempo Universal Coordinado (Universal Time Coordinated

"Lembro ler sobre Final Fantasy VII, unha película que eu estaba realmente ansioso para. A miña reacción inicial foi decepción que era dous anos de distancia -. Porque ata entón estariamos baixo control militar "Foi 2004, e Matthew Elliott estaba en profunda. Elliott, de San Antonio, Texas, tiña primeiro foi atraídos para as teorías da conspiración cando era 19, no rescaldo da 9/11. "Parecía incomprensible que podería ser atacado,", Di el hoxe. Na súa procura para entender o que acontecera se deparou o notorio movemento "truther", unha corrente de opinión que pon a culpa polas atrocidades na porta do goberno de Estados Unidos.

"A forma como a maioría das teorías da conspiración son definidos, algo sempre leva a outra, entón a partir de aí quedei convencido de que un grupo dirixente chamado Nova Orde Mundial orquestrado todo. Isto todo levar a lei marcial e unha retirada completa das nosas liberdades,", Di el. Unha década despois, Elliott, agora 34, é unha "recuperación" teórico da conspiración, virar as costas a unha visión de mundo que sempre pon algunha encuberta, forza poderosa actuando contra os intereses das persoas comúns. O cambio veu gradualmente, pero el pensa moi distinto agora. "Non pode mesmo comezar moitos dos 50 estados chegar a un acordo sobre as cousas. Boa sorte europeos convincentes e asiáticos para a bordo. "

A reacción de Elliott ao trauma de 9/11 estaba lonxe de ser inusual. Os ataques foron tan sen precedentes, tan devastador, que moitos de nós se esforzou para dar sentido a eles. Os primeiros relatos eran confusos ou contraditorios: como resultado, algúns tratados da versión oficial dos eventos con escepticismo. A proporción dos que, á súa vez plumped para unha explicación que esixiría fakery e coordinación en gran escala.

Isto non debería sorprendernos: É un estándar que se repite despois de cada choque mundial, e tras os atentados de París, que elevou a súa cabeza de novo. Dentro dun día dos ataques terroristas contra a capital francesa, blogs foran publicados argumentando que eran o traballo do goberno - a chamada "bandeira falsa" operación. As reivindicacións descansar na idea de que Isis é a creación deliberada de gobernos occidentais. máis recentemente, o avogado da familia de Syed Farook, un dos tiradores San Bernardino, especulación conspiratória abastece cando dixo: "Hai unha morea de motivación neste momento para salientar ou crear incidentes que fará que o control de armas ou prexuízo ou odio contra a comunidade musulmá".

cobertura Round-the-clock de eventos globais significa que hai unha subministración constante de crise e caos para nós para interpretar. Historias de cordas sendo tirado por mans ocultas son un grampo de nosa entretemento, a partir de Blofeld do Spectre para a conspiración barroca de Londres Spy, un dos dramas británicos máis aclamados do ano, que desvelados nun exemplo espectacular estilo paranoico. Non é que a crenza en teorías da conspiración é cada vez máis xeneralizada, di virus Swami, profesor de psicoloxía social da Anglia Ruskin University: Aínda que a investigación aínda non se fixo, el me di, hai moita evidencia anedota para suxerir que a crenza en conspiracións mantívose relativamente estable durante o último medio século ou así. O que cambiou, con todo, é a velocidade con que novas teorías son formados. “It’s a symptom of a much more integrated world,", Di el. Internet acelera todo para arriba, permitindo que os individuos conspiración de espírito para conectarse e formular as súas ideas. en contraste, it took months for theories about Pearl Harbor to develop.

Karen Douglas, another social psychologist, echoes this point. “People’s communication patterns have changed quite a lot over the last few years. It’s just so much easier for people to get access to conspiracy information even if they have a little seed of doubt about an official story. It’s very easy to go online and find other people who feel the same way as you.”

Is everyone prone to this kind of thinking, or is it the preserve of an extreme fringe? Douglas reckons it’s more common than most of us realise. "Recent research has shown that about half of Americans believe at least one conspiracy theory,", Di ela. “You’re looking at average people; people you might come across on the street.”

That’s also the view of Rob Brotherton, whose new book, Suspicious Minds, explores the traits that predispose us to belief in conspiracies. He cautions against sitting in judgment, since all of us have suspicious minds – and for good reason. Identifying patterns and being sensitive to possible threats is what has helped us survive in a world where nature often is out to get you. “Conspiracy theory books tend to come at it from the point of view of debunking them. I wanted to take a different approach, to sidestep the whole issue of whether the theories are true or false and come at it from the perspective of psychology,", Di el. “The intentionality bias, the proportionality bias, confirmation bias. We have these quirks built into our minds that can lead us to believe weird things without realising that’s why we believe them.”

Ben Whishaw London Spy
Ben Whishaw in London Spy, un dos dramas británicos máis aclamados do ano, que desvelados nun exemplo espectacular estilo paranoico. Fotografía: BBC/WTTV

“Whenever anything ambiguous happens, we have this bias towards assuming that it was intended – that somebody planned it, that there was some kind of purpose or agency behind it, rather than thinking it was just an accident, or chaos, or an unintended consequence of something.” This intentionality bias, Brotherton says, can be detected from early childhood. “If you ask a young kid why somebody sneezed, the kid thinks that they did it on purpose, that the person must really enjoy sneezing. It’s only after about the age of four or five that we begin to learn that not everything that everybody does is intended. We’re able to override that automatic judgment. But research shows that it still stays with us even into adulthood.”

Por exemplo, studies have shown that when people drink alcohol, they are more likely to interpret ambiguous actions as having been deliberate. “So if you’re at the pub and somebody jostles you and spills your drink, if it’s your first drink, you might write it off as an innocent mistake. But if you’re a few drinks in, then you’re more likely to think they did it on purpose, that it was an aggressive act.”

Like most personality traits, proneness to intentionality bias varies across the population. “Some people are more susceptible to it than others.” And, Brotherton explains, there is a small but reliable correlation between that susceptibility and belief in conspiracy theories.

External factors also play a part, claro. For Ryan, who asked that I omit his last name, the influence of a single charismatic individual was crucial. It was Johnny, a friend and bandmate, who showed him books and CDs about world government and “served as a guru of sorts”. At the same time as inducting him into the truther movement, “he was introducing me to music I’d never heard and really loved”. At the height of his involvement, Ryan says he believed a broad range of conspiracy theories, including “chemtrails” – the idea that the trails left by planes contain noxious chemicals intended to subdue or poison people; that Aids and Ébola were introduced by governments to control population; that the moon landings were faked; that a substance extracted from apricots called laetrile was an effective cure for cancer, but had been banned by the FDA and dismissed as quackery to protect the interests of Big Pharma. “I strained my relationships with my family badly. It’s always the ones you love the most that you want to ‘wake up’. I ended up in hugely embarrassing debates and arguments,", Di el.

But beyond the anguish it caused for those close to him, were Ryan’s unorthodox beliefs harmful? Karen Douglas is wary of rubbishing all conspiracy theorising as dangerous. “Thinking in that way, it must have some positive consequences. If everybody went around just accepting what they were told by governments, officials, pharmaceutical companies, whoever, then we would be a bunch of sheep, really”. Por outra banda, the effects of certain theories on behaviour can be damaging. Douglas’s own research [pdf download] has shown that exposure to the idea that the British government was involved in the death of Princess Diana reduced people’s intention to engage in politics. similarmente, subjects who read a text stating that climate change was a hoax by scientists seeking funding were less likely to want to take action to reduce their carbon footprint. E anti-vaccine conspiracy narratives make people less likely to vaccinate their children, a clear public health risk.

Should we try to stamp conspiracy theories out, logo? Part of Brotherton’s argument is that they’re a natural consequence of the way our brains have evolved. Non só iso, but trying to disprove them can backfire. “Any time you start trying to debunk conspiracy theories, for the people who really believe, that’s exactly what they would expect if the conspiracy were real,", Di el.

Swami sees things differently. “Experimental work that we’ve done shows that it’s possible to reduce conspiracist ideation.” How? Swami found that people who had been encouraged to think analytically during a verbal task were less likely to accept conspiracy theories afterwards. For him, this hints at an important potential role for education. “The best way is, at a societal level, to promote analytical thinking, to teach critical thinking skills.” But that’s not all. When people have faith in their representatives, understand what they are doing and trust that they are not corrupt, they are less likely to believe in coverups. That’s why political transparency ought to be bolstered wherever possible – and corporate transparency, máis. “A lot of people have trouble accepting a big organisation’s or government’s narratives of an event, because they’re seen as untrustworthy, they’re seen as liars,” argues Swami.

Improved teaching and changes in political and business culture would undoubtedly help. But conspiracy theories can be rejected for personal reasons, máis. Ryan’s view changed with loss of his “guru”.

“I kinda dropped out of contact with Johnny after he got married and had a baby,", Di el. “He was getting further and further into it, and I just couldn’t keep up with the mental gymnastics involved.” He started to look for alternative explanations – less exciting, but more plausible ones. “I looked at the people debating on the national level, for the presidency and such. No way these guys speaking in platitudes and generalisations could really be behind a global conspiracy to enslave or kill me. They weren’t doing a particularly good job of it either, considering how happy I was living my life.

“That was the epiphany, realmente. I was free. I was happy. None of the doom and gloom predicted and promised ever came.” For Ryan, by then 27, the bizarre ride was over. A world that pitted him against the forces of evil had all the appeal of a spy drama. But real life was less like a story – and in some ways more depressing. What does he think are the forces that really shape things? “Most of what is wrong in the world nowadays – well, I would put it down to incompetence and greed. A lack of compassion.”

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