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The Inner Worlds of Conspiracy Believers
Shortly after terrorist attacks destroyed the World Trade Center and mangled the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, conspiracy theories blossomed about secret and malevolent government plots behind the tragic events. A report scheduled to appear in an upcoming Applied Cognitive Psychology offers a preliminary psychological profile of people who believe in 9/11 conspiracies.
“It seems likely that conspiratorial beliefs serve a similar psychological function to superstitious, paranormal and, more controversially, religious beliefs, as they help some people to gain a sense of control over an unpredictable world,” French says.
The Commission's co-chairs said that the CIA (and likely the White House) "obstructed our investigation"
Indeed, they said that the 9/11 Commissioners knew that military officials misrepresented the facts to the Commission, and the Commission considered recommending criminal charges for such false statements
9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey said that "There are ample reasons to suspect that there may be some alternative to what we outlined in our version . . . We didn't have access . . . ."
9/11 Commissioner Timothy Roemer said "We were extremely frustrated with the false statements we were getting"
9/11 Commissioner Max Cleland resigned from the Commission, stating: "It is a national scandal"; "This investigation is now compromised"; and "One of these days we will have to get the full story because the 9-11 issue is so important to America. But this White House wants to cover it up"
Goertzel says the new study provides an intriguing but partial look at the inner workings of conspiracy thinking. Such convictions critically depend on what he calls “selective skepticism.” Conspiracy believers are highly doubtful about information from the government or other sources they consider suspect. But, without criticism, believers accept any source that supports their preconceived views, he says.