Here’s Why People Believe In Conspiracy Theories

TIME

UFO sightings. Hoaxed moon landings. Reptiles who rule the world.

What, in the name of our alleged lizard overlords, convinces a person to believe in conspiracy theories?

According to a pair of new studies published in the journalApplied Cognitive Psychology, conspiracy theorists—and there are a lot more of them than you may think—tend to have one thing in common: they feel a lack of control over their lives.

Jan-Willem van Prooijen, associate professor in social and organizational psychology at VU University Amsterdam, has been studying conspiracy theories and those who believe them for six years. “When I started this research, one of the things that I really found astonishing was how many people believe in certain conspiracy theories,” he says.

MORE: Extraterrestrials on a Comet Are Faking Climate Change. Or Something

Conspiracy theories often crop up during times of uncertainty and fear: after terrorist strikes, financial…

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Author: rjbailey

"I have no idea what I'm doing, but I know I'm doing it really, really well." - Andy Dwyer

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