The foxes talk to Ricky Green of the Unversity of Kent about conspiracy theories and what causes people to believe in the unbelievable.
Specifically why are conspiracy theories so prevalant right now, in one of humanity's darkest hours, after a year of near-lockdown for so many? Does stress play a factor in our willingness to believe?
We explore what factors cause people to believe, the types of belief and most importantly, Ricky guides us as to how to handle the next time a friend or family member starts sharing their views on a "conspiracy" with you.
Ricky works alongside one of the leading teams of conspiracy theory research in the UK and shares some really interesting ideas which will cause you to see conspiracy theories and their believers in a whole new light.
About the show
Old Fox Young Fox is an intergenerational conversation between Jeremy Woolwich and Oliver Happy, one that explores the impacts of a rapidly changing world.
Ricky Green is a PhD student at University of Kent and is keenly interested in researching the subject of Conspiracy theories. Once one "to believe" in such theories himself, he now devotes his time to studying the factors that can influence our likelihood to believing in Conspiracy theories. Ricky lives on the South Coast in England.
9-11 and if it is a conspiracy
Zeitgeist the movie
Is covid-19 a conspiracy and is Bill Gates looking to get a monopoly on vaccines?
Was Covid-19 a lab experiment that escaped?
09:00 What is the difference between a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory?
Is the New World Order a conspiracy theory?
The word conspiracy and the power it holds to the listener
Why do we suspend belief when it comes to conspiracy theories?
12:00 There is so much evidence against so many conspiracy theories, overwhelming in many cases
Vaccinations as a hot topic in the conspiracy theorist's world and Anti-vaccination sentiment
The spectrum of fantasists through to the rational sceptics
At what point do people move from being rational to believing outlandish things?
14:30 The spectrum of thinking from rational thought through to believing the queen of england is a reptilian lizard
15:30 Measuring believe in conspiracy theories and the strongest determinist factor being believing in another
16:30 The main qualitative study where conspiracy believers were interviewed and themes drawn out into 5 types of conspiracy believers <-----
Unusual ontology (way of thinking) to describe levels of belief in conspiracies
18:30 Attachment theory as a determinant of belief in conspiracies <-----
People with a secure attachment style being less likely to believe in conspiracies, compared to people with an insecure attachment style who are far more likely to believe.
20:30 The link between anxiety and a tendency to catastrophise as a determinant in belief in conspiracy theories
22:30 A recent development in research via Professor Karen Douglas from the University of Kent and her team, concluding that conspiracy theories appeal to people whose important psychological needs are not being met.
Our thinking style as a determinant of how interesting conspiracy theories are.
24:30 Animation as a tool of research, to measure the level of consciousness in shapes and therefore agency and intentionality in shapes.
Humans as pattern seeking animals
Those who see patterns where they do not exist are also believers in conspiracy theories
26:00 Level of education as a factor in likelihood to believe in conspiracy theories
Covid-19 and a lack of feeling secure as fuel to the rise in conspiracy theories
The role of level of information and quality of information in the level of conspiracy theory belief within society
The speed of change and facts changing in a time of uncertainty creating a space for conspiracy theories to grow
Person: Olivier Klein as a conspiracy theory researcher on Twitter
33:00 how to find a middle ground to help debating with conspiracy theorists
The conspiracy theory regarding the protocols of the elders of Zion was discredited in the 1920s and yet keeps re-emerging
35:00 Why conspiracy theories are so persistent, even in the face of facts to the contrary in many cases
Anti-sematism as a vehicle to many conspiracy theories and the link between banking and financial power and being scapegoated by such theories
39:00 conspiracy denialists and why some people outright deny all conspiracies