People May Get Sucked Into Conspiracy Theories Due to the Entertainment Value
According to a study published in the British Journal of Psychology, people who like conspiracy theories do so for the same reason we watch whatever new show the internet pushes at us: because they’re fun.
The findings are the result of five separate studies in which the researchers examined the “psychological payoff” people get from reading about and believing in conspiracy theories. Taken together, the researchers say the appeal of conspiracy theories comes from them sharing a lot of features with exciting works of fiction, “such as a scary movie or detective novel.”
Scarily, the researchers say the entertainment value of a conspiracy theory is important for its success, as the more entertaining it is to someone, the more likely that person is to believe it.
However, lead author Jan-Willem van Prooijen told PsyPost that just because a person thinks a conspiracy theory is entertaining doesn’t mean they’ll automatically believe it. “For instance, one may find the flat earth movement really funny, but that does not mean one also buys into the notion that the earth is flat.”