Conspiracy theories are shared beliefs that project negative behaviors onto a known or imaginary group. Someone who is attached to a particular conspiracy theory will often continue to believe in it despite evidence to its existence. In some people it may take on features of an addiction.

Elements of a conspiracy:

(1) presence of a secret and powerful group

(2) the group has sinister goals

(3) these goals pose a threat


Features of media reporting a conspiracy:

(1) misinformation

(2) bias/prejudice in representing information

(3) irrational arguments

(4) circular reasoning


Goals of promoting the belief in the conspiracy:

(1) to trigger primitive emotions including anger, fear and paranoia

(2) to manipulate

(3) to justify behaviors that normally would not be acceptable

(4) to justify irrational beliefs

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