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Originally posted by Varemia
I've been thinking about this a bit, and I apologize if someone has brought something like it up before, but has anyone done any serious thinking about how real their beliefs in a conspiracy are?
A little background idea of what I'm talking about...
When you see someone post something crazy, the first time you see it, it certainly sounds crazy. For example, someone posts a thread called "The Sky is Filled with Invisible Spaceships!" At first, everyone is skeptical and there are only a couple people who believe practically everything they read. A few people bring up how birds would not be able to fly through them, and then another says that maybe the ships are in another dimension, but then everyone is kind of confused and at an impasse. The thread dies off and people stop caring since it has no effect on their lives. Then, a few weeks later, someone else who believed it or just found it brings it up again in a new thread titled "Spaceships We Can't See?" and people remember, going "oooh, new info." Then the same argument happens. It gets forgotten and a month later it's posted again, and again.
Imagine that this has been posted repeatedly for 10 years, all started by one guy's (let's say) hoax of a thread. Someone who has seen a great deal of them begins to place credence on it just from having seen it so many times. It practically becomes a fact that there are spaceships invisible in the sky, even though there was no evidence ever brought up to explain how that person even came to the conclusion.
(disclaimer: I am not claiming that a legitimate conspiracy claim of invisible spaceships, if it exists, is false. This is just a hypothetical not meant to be related to an actual thread or series of threads)
What I'd like to do is just make everyone aware of this psychological effect, and I would ask you to think about why you believe some of the conspiracies that you do. Is it because you are genuinely convinced of the possibility or is it because you have seen it so many times?
(mods can move this to the appropriate forum if necessary. I don't know for sure if medical is the right place for a psychological conspiracy subject.)
For those who are interested in seeing a conspiracy, the repetitive posting of bad conspiracies is a disinformation tactic that would be easily utilized by a group of people who want people to believe in things that are genuinely crazy and would cause an immediate credibility loss of a genuine person.