Articles on Conspiracy theories

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Gurneys to remove bodies from the Heaven’s Gate cult house in San Diego, California, March 27, 1997. AP Photo

What the Heaven’s Gate suicides say about American culture

Twenty years ago, the paranoia that consumed cults like Heaven's Gate existed on the margins of American society. Now it's moved toward the center of the nation's political life.
This man needs to trust you before listening to your public health message. No wonder bombarding him with facts doesn’t always work. from www.shutterstock.com

How to cut through when talking to anti-vaxxers and anti-fluoriders

Reassuring people "not to worry" about public health issues like vaccination or fluoridated water doesn't work. Nor does telling people "don't panic". So, what does?
How can we make sense of information in today’s connected world? Mobile phone image via www.shutterstock.com

How can we learn to reject fake news in the digital world?

Researchers have found that today's students, despite being 'digital natives,' have a hard time distinguishing what is real and what is fake online. Metaliteracy might provide the answers.
What do you believe in? shutterstock.com

Anthill 7: On belief

The Antill 7: On belief. The Conversation, CC BY-ND46.9 MB (download)
Four stories on belief: from the allure of cults and conspiracy theories, to the effect of trauma on faith, to the way dogma has influenced science – and if technology can actually shift our beliefs.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gestures to supporters as he departs a Sept. 13 campaign rally in Clive, Iowa. Mike Segar/Reuters

The rise of a conspiracy candidate

The same forces that drive belief in conspiracy theories are the ones driving the rise of Donald Trump. So it's no wonder that, less than two months until the election, he continues to dabble in and promote them.
Donald Trump has enacted the paranoid style, giving its ideas a platform and legitimacy, in his presidential campaign. Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Paranoid politics: how does Donald Trump get away with it?

How does Donald Trump get away with the type of campaign he’s running? Why, if he’s a narcissistic demagogue, has he found an audience who respond to his politics?
According to a recent poll, 45 percent of Americans believe extraterrestrials have visited the Earth. Raphael Terra, 'UFO Sunset.'

Why are people starting to believe in UFOs again?

Whether it's Hillary Clinton's courting the UFO vote or Donald Trump's lending credibility to various conspiracy theories, the "triumph of reason" seems to have gone by the wayside.
The author began hearing the sound at night, between the hours of 10 and 11 p.m. 'Street' via www.shutterstock.com

Cracking the mystery of the ‘Worldwide Hum’

Shortly after Glen MacPherson started hearing strange humming noises, he created the World Hum and Database Project so people around the world could document their own experiences with the Hum.
Rumors abounded in the days after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Nick Lehr/The Conversation

Making sense of the Scalia conspiracy theory

How do rational people get sucked into believing conspiracies? According to research, we're more susceptible than you'd think.

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