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"InfoWars Debunked?" --Scientists Show That Skepticism Towards Conspiracies and the Paranormal Not Just a Matter of Cognitive Ability




In the late 1960s and early 1970s, NASA launched the Apollo missions to the moon that ultimately landed 12 astronauts on the lunar surface in a series of historic missions. Or did they? Yes, the Apollo astronauts did land on the moon. But conspiracy theorists maintain to this day that humans never set foot on the lunar surface, and that the entire effort was massively staged event to establish the USA as the world's space power. 

NASA's moon landings and global warming are hoaxes. The U.S. government had advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. A UFO crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. Is skepticism toward these kinds of unfounded beliefs just a matter of cognitive ability? Not according to new research by a University of Illinois at Chicago social psychologist.


In an article published online and in the February 2018 issue of the journal Personality and Individual Differences, Tomas Ståhl reports on two studies that examined why some people are inclined to believe in various conspiracies and paranormal phenomena. "We show that reasonable skepticism about various conspiracy theories and paranormal phenomena does not only require a relatively high cognitive ability, but also strong motivation to be rational," says Ståhl, UIC visiting assistant professor of psychology and lead author of the study.



"When the motivation to form your beliefs based on logic and evidence is not there, people with high cognitive ability are just as likely to believe in conspiracies and paranormal phenomena as people with lower cognitive ability."

Previous work in this area has indicated that people with higher cognitive ability -- or a more analytic thinking style -- are less inclined to believe in conspiracies and the paranormal.

Ståhl and co-author Jan-Willem van Prooijen of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam conducted two online surveys with more than 300 respondents each to assess analytic thinking and other factors that might promote skepticism toward unfounded beliefs.

The first survey found that an analytic cognitive style was associated with weaker paranormal beliefs, conspiracy beliefs and conspiracy mentality. However, this was only the case among participants who strongly valued forming their beliefs based on logic and evidence.



Among participants who did not strongly value a reliance on logic and evidence, having an analytic cognitive style was not associated with weaker belief in the paranormal or in various conspiracy theories.

In the second survey, the researchers examined whether these effects were uniquely attributable to having an analytic cognitive style or whether they were explained by more general individual differences in cognitive ability. Results were more consistent with a general cognitive ability account.

The article notes that despite a century of better educational opportunities and increased intelligence scores in the U.S. population, unfounded beliefs remain pervasive in contemporary society.

"Our findings suggest that part of the reason may be that many people do not view it as sufficiently important to form their beliefs on rational grounds," Ståhl said.

From linking vaccines with autism to climate change skepticism, these widespread conspiracy theories and other unfounded beliefs can lead to harmful behavior, according to Ståhl.

"Many of these beliefs can, unfortunately, have detrimental consequences for individuals' health choices, as well as for society as a whole," he said.

The Daily Galaxy via University of Illinois-Chicago

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People with strong religious beliefs contribute to "flat earth" kind of thinking despite being cognitively gifted. To follow certain beliefs requires one to suspend logical thinking. Nothing new here.

Greg, stop being a pseudo intellectual snob. It makes you look stupid.

@Greg, People with strong religious beliefs are why this world is such a mess!

But everybody knows that some vaccine adjuvants contain neurotoxins that bio-accumulate. And it's common knowledge that bio-accumulation of heavy metals triggers symptoms that place someone within a diagnosable autism spectrum (see Minamata disease).

Also, one has to only take a quick look at the studies that "authorities" cite on antropogenic climate change consensus to know that it is bogus science. NASA quotes the Doran-Zimmerman and Cook studies as evidence. If you look through their methodology, anyone with half a brain can conclude that they are either incompetent or intentionally dishonest about their findings.

Considering the fact that academics have become the world's new intellectual underclass, it's more likely that the professor conducting this study was, himself, severely misinformed on the very subjects he was testing people on.

I will look further into this specific study to find out where he fucked up and I'm sure I won't havy any trouble finding it.

So, first of all, one of the authors is a "social psychologist" at VU Amsterdam. So he practices a bogus field of pseudo-science at an ex-university that has been converged by the extreme European left into a cesspool of Marxist indoctrination that literally holds annual hammer and sickle marches to celebrate communism.

I have severe doubts that he can be unbiased since he is obviously a left-wing extremist, but I will let the research speak for itself.

Of course, the study itself is hidden behind a paywall like most bogus studies usually are. I will buy it and destroy it as I am writing an article on this. Will update later.

164IQ--nothing like bragging in your netname. Has it never occurred to you that there are people, a lot of people, smarter than you?

Bragging is the behavior of stupid people, you know. If the brag is true, it doesn't need to be said, and if it isn't, the only thing that can happen is you get proved wrong. Not much return on investment there.

You should not be allowed anywhere near science, not with your willingness to fool yourself about the most obvious things.

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