Friday, October 03, 2008

Conspiracy theories and stress in the population

As you are all aware, we are now facing times that are extremely stressful for many people here in Canada and in the US as well. Both countries are facing elections, both countries are involved in armed conflicts and losing soldiers, both countries are impacted by the financial crisis and the stock exchange meltdowns of the last few days....and we are allies and neighbours.I was reading my Vancouver Sun today and came across an interesting article about conspiracy theories and the reason why they become popular in times of stress (see my recent post on a supposed alien Mothership, predicted for Oct 14th, 2008).

It seems that when people's confidence is shaken, the same people will try to understand and many will start to see patterns when, in fact, there are none. This was replicated in the lab with the same conclusion:

"A quest for structure or understanding leads people to trick themselves into seeing and believing connections that simply don't exist"
Speaking of conspiracy theories I have to admit that I am a big fan of Adam Curry's Daily Source Code and it's podcast. I am a proud "Chucklehead" (Adam Curry's fan) and religiously listen to every single episode while walking on my way to work to Camosun college. I like Adam Curry (see picture above), he is a bright guy and quite funny but lately I think he gets a bit delusionnal, he seems afraid of everything and sees an amazing conspiracy against the freedom of everyone. I am not saying he is totally wrong and I think he is probably right on many issues....but he talks like a person that's really afraid.

Illustration source: