Theory movie

We’ve already seen this conspiracy theory movie | Canberra weather

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A small group of vocal individuals recently made international news when they gathered to protest Victoria’s coronavirus lockdown laws. Holding up signs and chanting slogans, COVID-19 conspiracy theories were at the center of this collective. These accounts always involve a secret malicious conspiracy by groups to plot against humanity or to cover up the “truth” about a great event. Whether it’s COVID-19 designed in a Chinese lab to wipe out civilization, or governments covering up 5G’s involvement in the spread of the virus, we’ve all seen this movie before. The plot might look different, but these theories are like remakes of movies where it’s the same structure, and just the actors and subplots that changed. Today, the target of our fears may be Bill Gates or an international technology company. Half a century ago, during the Cold War, it was the Commies who caught Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt in a submarine so he could defect to China. When something big happens, people look for big explanations. The past six months have brought great social and economic uncertainty for Australians. First the catastrophic bushfires, and now everyone is focusing on the same large-scale global event. Like a Hollywood blockbuster, this pandemic provides a rich backdrop for conspiracy theories. Psychologists understand that uncertainty, a sense of helplessness, and increased anxiety are associated with increased belief in conspiracy theories. Research suggests that individuals believe these stories meet basic human needs. Some people try to take back control of their life that has been turned upside down. Others may feel special knowing the real “truth”. A target such as Bill Gates, the Chinese, or another powerful group can help individuals feel positive about themselves and their group, explaining events and having a bad guy to blame. However, there is little evidence to suggest that conspiracy theories actually meet these needs. Hanging on to an explanation does not reduce people’s uncertainty or anxiety in the long run. While it is true that some conspiracies turn out to be true, like the Nixon Watergate scandal, the vast majority will not. Nonetheless, the erosion of trust in democracies, science, and other important societal structures caused by conspiracy theories can last a long time. Dr Mathew Marques is a lecturer in social psychology at the University of La Trobe.



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