(Mashable) “Millions of people have been drawn to QAnon, the far-right group that believes President Trump is fighting a clandestine child sex-trafficking ring. (Trump has welcomed the group's support.) In a survey conducted by Pew Research Center this summer, nearly a quarter found some truth in the unfounded theory that the coronavirus pandemic was planned. A study published last month in the Journal of Personality found that the psychological traits associated with conspiracy beliefs might be far more normal than we think...Believers crave knowledge, desire safety and security, and need to maintain positive self-esteem.”
Our Take: The traits may sound like you, but there is another factor at play, and that is the ability to resist the temptation to believe the conspiracy theory. Moreover, in these times certain people are looking for answers which make them susceptible to believing misinformation confirming their beliefs. Additionally, people are having to cope with the pressure of the world around them. Therefore, those who cannot resist the temptation to believe in the conspiracy theory being advanced are more susceptible because they may not be using critical thinking to question the information.
"During times of crisis and when difficult decisions need to be made, these psychological needs are particularly threatened, and people are looking for ways to cope with the challenges they face...Karen Douglas, Professor of Social Pshcyology at The University of Kent as reported by Mashable.
Critical thinking is key to fighting misinformation. The following from Mashable is important in how to critically think when receiving and digesting information that comes at all of us in this instant message, faced paced social media world.
Steven Hassan, a licensed mental health counselor and former cult member who studies mind control techniques...says that people must think critically about the information they're consuming. This may seem obvious, but it's easy to overestimate one's ability to evaluate facts, data, and arguments. Everyone is susceptible to confirmation bias, or the tendency to interpret information in ways that reinforce your existing beliefs. You can combat this dynamic by relying on reputable news and media sources that challenge your views. You can also engage in reasonable conversations with people who hold different or opposing views. (These discussions might have a better chance of succeeding offline rather than on social media.)
To learn more why people buy into conspiracy theories and how anyone can learn to avoid taking the bait read: Some people are more likely to believe conspiracy theories. Here's how to know if you're one of them | Mashable