Internet has been an essential revolution of communication ever to happen in the world. Even most of the brilliant philosophers haven’t thought of this invention before. Today, we use this vast space to share information and talk about our ideas. We use it even to the point of showing ourselves to 7.4 billion of networks. With this compiled information, it can’t be avoided to have pseudo or false reports. Moreover, no matter how unbelievable, many people still latched onto this misinformation spread online, especially those stories that justified their own beliefs.
A recent study tried to understand this phenomenon and explain why so many people are willing to consider exaggerated and misleading reports. This research has two-part analysis of two random samples of people. Results of both data show that feelings of desolation are caused by social exclusion. In order to search for meaning and to fill the emptiness, people are more likely to channel these on miraculous and superstitious information wherein they have a “community” on which they feel accepted.
“Those who are excluded may begin to wonder why they’re excluded in the first place, causing them to seek meaning in their lives. This may then lead them to endorse certain conspiracy beliefs,” said co-lead author Alin Coman, assistant professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton.
Sharing these beliefs can also drive away their family and friends, which means greater feelings of despair and, in turn, more exclusion. This could lead to increased network on conspiracy theory communities wherein they feel welcome and thus, reinforcing such misinformation. This conspiratorial thinking can lead to a dangerous cycle.
“Attempting to disrupt this cycle might be the best bet for someone interested in counteracting conspiracy theories at a societal level,” he explains. “Otherwise, communities could become more prone to propagating inaccurate and conspiratorial beliefs.”
So, if you think about your weird aunt who kept on blabbering about Donald Trump “facts”, or talk to a friend who can’t stop preaching their crooked belief, know that somehow this might just be a call of help on a mask.