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need for structure Experiment 2:
Lack control and pattern perception in snowy
image task—those who lacked control were
more likely to report seeing an image in
random patterns ask ppl beliefs about 22 diﬀ CTs anomie - ppl who believe the world is a hostile, nasty place and are more likely
to believe in CTs authoritarians - like control, like CTs powerlessness --- more likely to believe CTs when they feel high in
Members of groups that feel
powerless: What predicts belief in CTs? Abalakina-Paap et al. (1999): NeoNeo-Nazis Beliefs in specific CTs (22 of them): Militia men Anomie,
Anomie, r = .39, p < .0001
Authoritarianism, r = .21, p < .02
Powerlessness, r = .16, p < .05.
.16, know what Cts are, evidence that lots of ppl who believe them despite lack of
evidence, some ppl = more likely to believe Cts than others, but why do they
Biased assimilation: Information that supports your position is uncritically accepted, whereas contrary information
information is scrutinized and discredited; Fundamental
Fundamental attribution error: People overestimate the role of dispositions over situational factors in explaining the
the behavior of other people;
most stuﬀ happens, and most ppl do stuﬀ bc of the situations they're in, but
when we try to explain why we look to their personalities Evolution of risk averse psychology
Error Management Theory says we're full of psych adaptations that are risk
averse. Very common to mistake a stick for a snake but very unlikely that you'd
do the reverse. Ppl who make the latter error are dead. Not costly to mistake a
stick of a snake, but it is to mistake a snake for a stick... Part
Part 4: What explains the
staying power of CTs? AntiAnti-globalization protestors Ethnic
Ethnic minority groups that are subject to
intense discrimination Looked into Kennedy assassination and had ppl rate on scale how certain they
were LHO killed JFK or how unlikely, has a spectrum of ppl. Gives ppl an
evidentiary summary for each side of the issue. 9 pieces of evidence for each
piece. McHoskey (1995)
“Do you believe that President John F.
Kennedy was killed by a lone assassin
named Lee Harvey Oswald, or that there
were multiple assassins and therefore
were multiple assassins, and therefore a
conspiracy to kill President Kennedy?
completely certain Oswald alone killed
JFK (JFK (- 50) to completely certain a
conspiracy killed JFK (+ 50). 5 12/2/2013 Ss
Ss read 850 word evidence summaries for each
side of the issue.
Nine pieces of evidence for each side. Ss
evaluated each for how persuasive it was.
E.g., eye-witnesses identified shots from the
eye witnesses identified shots from the
“Inadequacy of the “single-bullet theory”
“singleBack and to the left. . . Back and to the. . .
all evid for CTs, asked to rate how believable each piece of evid is. Take 2 extremes (CTs vs LHO believers) reading same evidence. Each side
hearing same evidence and judging what's persuasive/believable simply reﬂects
their prior belief. The stronger prior belief, the more likely to interpret evid as
conﬁrming their prior belief. Not surprising it's hard to persuade ppl because
they're unwilling to accept contrary evidence. Conclusion
Leadership and justifications for war/change
Leadership and justifications for war/change Why?
Manage specific emotions
The CTs contain important information
There is narrative appeal 6...
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- Spring '08