Conspiracy Clearinghouse

Studies & Signals: Insights into the Conspiracy Mindset - Because Reasons 4

September 30, 2020

Episode 16 | Studies & Signals: Insights into the Conspiracy Mindset - Because Reasons 4

Guest: John Poston, Theatrical Artist & Writer

We talk about the origins of some clichés about conspiracy folks, as well as some actual scientific studies about the mindset. We also deftly use Star Trek as a metaphor for the brain. And some questionnaires you can take at home to find out just how conspiracy-minded you are yourself. A lot of what you think you know about conspiracy theorists is probably wrong. But some of it is right.


  1. 01:28 - Conspiracy Folks Are People
  2. 02:47 - The Tin Foil Hat
  3. 03:47 - The Lunatic Fringe & The Paranoid Style in American Politics by Richard Hofstadter
  4. 04:50 - The Conspiracy Mentality Questionnaire (CMQ) (2013)
  5. 07:57 - Some Findings of the CMQ
  6. 08:58 - The Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale (GCBS) (2013)
  7. 13:51 - Three Studies: Analytic thinking reduces belief in conspiracy theories - Viren Swami, Martin Voracek, Stefan Stieger, Ulrich S. Tran & Adrian Furnham
  8. 16:55 - Star Trek as a Metaphor for the Brain's Information Processing Systems, the First Study
  9. 20:37 - The Second Study - the First Evidence that Analytic Thinking Might Reduce Conspiracy-Mindedness 
  10. 22:11 - The Third Study
  11. 23:47 - People Tend to Silo, Emotional Gratification is Key, Tribal Signaling 
  12. 25:42 - Hofstadter Oversimplified Things, Social Media Is Also Tribe Signaling, Humans Have a Big White of the Eye, Film Actors Have Big Bobble Heads
  13. 27:52 - Conspiracy Thinkers Are Not Necessarily Tin Foil Hatters

How conspiracy-minded are YOU? Take the GCBS yourself!

  • Music by Fanette Ronjat

PREVIOUS BECAUSE REASONS: Conspiracy Thinking in Eastern Europe

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