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